Flossing is an essential part of a good dental routine but there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. There are so many different types of floss that you can choose from but whichever type you choose when carried out properly, flossing will remove any build-up of plaque and excess food particles in between the teeth and improve the health of your mouth.

In the tiny gaps between the teeth, food particles can build up over time and no amount of careful brushing will remove them. If this plaque builds up it can result in tooth decay and gum disease. Good flossing can help reduce the build-up of plaque.

Correct technique to floss the teeth

Take approximately 18 inches of floss and wind a good proportion of it around each middle finger, leaving approximately an inch of floss to use on your teeth. Hold the floss tightly between the thumb and index finger and slide it gently between each tooth. Carefully curve the floss to get as close as possible to the bottom half of the tooth next to the gum so you can get beneath the gumline. Avoid snapping or forcing the floss because this can either bruise or cut the gum tissue. Clean the floss as you move around each tooth in your mouth. It is important to be careful when you use floss because if you cut into the gum it can become infected and be sore and uncomfortable.

Another technique that works well and is often less painful than traditional flossing is the use of a water flosser.

This is an appliance designed for home use that shoots a thin stream of water into your mouth at pressure to remove debris and plaque from in between the teeth and along the gumline. The most widely used product is the Waterpik. A water flossing device is both gentle and easy to use, suitable for use by anyone. It’s a great device that can be used in combination with or as a substitute for the conventional method of flossing.

Types of Floss

There are two main types of floss that are suitable. The first is multifilament floss usually made from nylon and the second is monofilament floss made from PTFE. Nylon flosses are usually available as either a waxed or unwaxed variety depending on your preferences and you can even buy them in a range of different flavours. The way that this floss is made means that it can sometimes shred or tear, particularly as it moves between the teeth. PTFE floss is more expensive, but it does slide easily between each tooth even in the smallest of spaces and will not shred. Either way, both types of floss work well to remove plaque and food debris from between the teeth and at the gumline.

The back teeth can be very difficult to reach and keep clean, making them ideal places for cavities to form. The back teeth feature a variety of grooves and ridges that help you to chew your food properly but with each ridge or groove is the perfect place for plaque to build up or food to get stuck. Over time, if these particles are not removed, it can lead to gum disease and bacteria. The bacteria on the teeth will use fermenting sugars that are found in many foods and convert into plaque in just 20 minutes. It is therefore important to make sure that you thoroughly clean your teeth and floss properly every day, particularly on a night time after you have been eating and drinking all day.