Imagine flashing your beautiful smile to that someone you like, only to “dazzle” him with the brownish stains of plaque and food bits in between your teeth. Talk about a put off; clearly, it is time to floss!
Aside from keeping your smile beautiful as well as bad breath-free, flossing helps prevent gum diseases by removing trapped bits of food or plaque formed between your teeth. Formed from layers of bacteria growing over the teeth surface, plaque can be problematic as it can irritate and inflame the gums.
The Fine Art of Flossing
- Start with about 45 cm of floss, and wind it around each middle finger, leaving enough floss (3-5cm) to work with.
- Hold the floss between your thumb and index finger, and slide the floss between your teeth. Gently slide it back and forth between the teeth while moving the floss up and down.
- Adjust the floss into a C-shape against one of the teeth as you go towards the gum line. Don’t snap or force too hard, or you may end up cutting or bruising your gums.
- Remove the floss by gently using the same back and forth motion while bring the floss up and away from your teeth.
- Beginning from the first tooth, slide the floss up and down on the side of the tooth and be sure to continue this motion for a few strokes so that you know you have thoroughly scrubbed the tooth’s surface.
Don’t forget to:
- Floss the back side of the last teeth in your mouth and other areas where a toothbrush has difficulty going into for cleaning to prevent plaque accumulation. Remember to keep the pressure of the floss against your teeth; directing the force towards the gum will only traumatize it.
- Rinse your mouth after flossing to remove any bacteria and debris that can be lingering around in your mouth.
- Devise a flossing pattern so that you don’t miss out any teeth.
Use a floss holder if your hands lack the dexterity to floss or find it tough to reach all of your teeth. Try wooden plaque removers or two-pronged plastic floss holders; either is easy to use and can be used with one hand.
Mouth Healthy. Available at www.mouthhealthy.org
NHS Choices. Available at www.nhs.uk
WebMD. Available at www.webmd.com