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Tips for Flossing
Pediatric Dentist Arlington, WA

Image of a woman smiling, while flossing. Good oral health does not include just brushing your teeth. Flossing is equally important as it helps you clean all the hard-to-reach places. Let's face it – many people are not a fan of it because it's time-consuming and tedious. Some even believe that it does not make any difference. However, dentists still recommend flossing daily because it helps prevent plaque and various dental diseases, such as cavities and gingivitis.

According to a Delta Dental study, 70% of people in the US brush their teeth twice daily – once after waking up and once before bedtime. A National Poll by DDS revealed that 20% of Americans don't floss at all, and 4 in 10 Americans floss their teeth once daily.

Now that you know the importance of flossing, here are some tips from Arlington Pediatric Dentistry to help you do it effectively:

Flossing Tips

•  Choose the Right Type of Floss: There are various dental floss options to choose from, including tape, waxed, unwaxed, or flavored. Experiment with different types to find the one that suits your needs and preferences. Waxed floss can slide more easily between teeth, while unwaxed floss may be better for tight spaces.
•  Be Gentle: Use a gentle touch when flossing to avoid injuring your gums. If you are new to flossing, your gums may bleed initially. This is normal and should improve with regular flossing as your gums become healthier.
•  Use the Right Floss Length: Cut about 18 to 24 inches of dental floss. This length allows you to use a fresh section of the floss between each pair of teeth, ensuring optimal cleanliness. Too short a length may lead to reusing the same segment, which can transfer bacteria.
•  Floss Regularly: Ideally, you should floss at least once daily. Consistency is key to maintaining good oral health. Flossing helps remove plaque and food particles that your toothbrush may not reach, preventing the buildup of harmful bacteria.
•  Develop a Technique: Wrap the floss around your forefingers and thumbs, leaving about one to two inches in between for easy movement. Gently insert the floss between a gap in your teeth and glide it back and forth. Do not snap the floss, as this can irritate your gums.
•  Follow a Pattern: Establish a routine for flossing. Whether you start from the back or front teeth, following a specific pattern ensures you cover all surfaces and don't miss any teeth. This can help make flossing a habit.
•  Pay Special Attention to the Back Teeth: When flossing the back teeth, it can be helpful to use a different approach. Instead of reaching straight back, angle the floss to reach each side of the tooth effectively. You may need to use a bit of extra care and patience for the molars, which often have tighter spaces.
•  Use a Flossing Tool: If traditional flossing is challenging for you, consider using flossing tools such as dental picks, pre-threaded flossers, or water flossers. These can be particularly helpful for individuals with dexterity issues or those who find traditional flossing uncomfortable.
•  Get the Right Angle: Angle the floss against the side of each tooth, forming a C-shape. This helps the floss reach beneath the gumline, where plaque tends to accumulate. Ensure you clean both sides of the teeth thoroughly.
•  Pay Attention to the Gum Line: Don't neglect the area where your teeth meet the gums. Plaque buildup in this area can lead to gum disease. Gently slide the floss under the gum line and move it up and down to remove any trapped debris.
•  Rinse and Repeat: When done, clean your mouth with an antiseptic mouthwash or water to remove dislodged particles and bacteria. This provides an extra layer of cleanliness and contributes to overall oral hygiene.
•  Be Patient and Persistent: If you are new to flossing or haven't been consistent, it may take some time for your gums to adjust. Be patient, stay persistent, and remember that the benefits of flossing extend beyond just cleaner teeth – it contributes to your complete oral health.
•  Don't Snap the Floss: Snapping the floss forcefully between the teeth can lead to trauma to the gums. The delicate gum tissue may get injured or irritated, causing discomfort and potentially leading to bleeding. Consistent trauma to the gums can also contribute to gum recession over time, exposing the tooth roots and increasing sensitivity.
•  Consider Investing in a Water Flosser If You Have Braces: A water flosser can be particularly beneficial if you are wearing any kind of orthodontic appliance. It helps to clean tight areas around brackets and wires, reducing the risk of decay or discoloration.

Come in for Professional Teeth Cleanings

Even with diligent at-home oral care, it's challenging to remove all plaque and tartar buildup. Professional teeth cleaning by a dental hygienist is an essential part of maintaining good oral hygiene. They can help eliminate stubborn plaque and tartar, preventing cavities and gum disease.

While flossing is essential, it's not a substitute for professional dental cleanings. Schedule regular dental check-ups with Arlington Pediatric Dentistry, at least two yearly. This will allow you to identify and address any potential issues before they escalate into more significant problems. These visits typically include a thorough examination of your teeth, gums, and oral cavity. For advice, call (360) 657-1650.

In conclusion, achieving optimal oral hygiene through effective flossing is a simple practice that can significantly contribute to your dental health. Flossing not only helps prevent gum disease, cavities, and bad breath but also reduces the risk of conditions like heart disease and diabetes. Investing a few minutes each day in flossing can lead to significant improvements in your quality of life. By incorporating these tips, you can transform flossing from a mundane task into an enjoyable part of your daily routine.

At Arlington Pediatric Dentistry, we pride ourselves on delivering exceptional dental services in a warm and friendly environment. Our dentist, Dr. Justin Smith brings years of experience and expertise to ensure your dental needs are met with precision and care. From routine check-ups to advanced cosmetic procedures, we offer a wide range of dental services under one roof. Give us a call at 360-657-1650 to schedule your appointment.
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