Flossing is one step of oral hygiene that many of us view as superfluous. When we’re short on time, it’s often the first thing we cut out of our health routine. Unfortunately, neglecting to floss can put our oral health at risk.
Flossing gets rid of food particles and plaque that can get trapped between your teeth and underneath your gumline. Like many dentists, we live by the old adage: “you only need to floss the teeth you want to keep.”
Types of Floss
One overwhelming thing about flossing is that there are so many different kinds to choose from. Here, we go into detail about each type to help you narrow it down.
Unwaxed floss: This type of floss is made of nylon yarn. It breaks and splits apart more easily than waxed floss, but it’s great for teeth that are tight together.
Waxed floss: As you might guess, waxed floss has a layer of wax coating it. The wax helps it to glide and it makes it more sturdy, but it can be difficult to use with crowded teeth.
Dental tape: This is wide and flat floss that works well if you have evenly spaced teeth.
Polytetrafluoroethylene Floss (Glide): Polutetrafluoroethylene–we know. We can’t pronounce it either! This floss also goes under the brand name Glide, and is the same material used in Gortex outdoor gear & nonstick pans! Usually, it’s easier to use this type of floss, which also tends to be durable.
Floss Threader: This is a plastic tool that resembles a large needle. That allows you to get the floss underneath braces, bridges, or dental implants. You can use it in conjunction with any type of floss.
Water Flosser: These tools provide an alternative to string floss. They use high water pressure to blast food particles and plaque away from the gum line and between your teeth. Many people find them more comfortable to use than string floss.
Super floss: This is another option for those in braces. This features measures of floss with stuff ends that give you handles to hold onto to help you get the floss into tight spaces.
Floss Holder: These are Y-shaped tools that hold the floss for you to help you thread it between your teeth. You can also purchase disposable holders that are pre-threaded.
How Do You Floss?
This isn’t the first time we’ve said it and it won’t be the last, but flossing is very important! 2/5s of your teeth are located in the spaces between, so if you don’t floss, you’re only cleaning a little more than half of your teeth surfaces. But if you don’t floss, you’re not alone. In fact, studies show that only 40% of Americans do. But that doesn’t make it right!
To floss your teeth, follow these steps:
- Get yourself a nice piece of floss, about 18-24 inches in length. Wrap either side of the floss around your index and middle fingers, so you have a few inches of floss between your fingers.
- Pull the floss tight and work it back and forth between your teeth.
- Form your floss into a C shape along the base of each tooth, and use the floss to scrape the plaque off from underneath your gumline.
- Continue with the rest of your teeth, making sure you move you adjust your grip on the floss so that you’re always working with a clean section.