Are you fighting bad breath, or do you frequently feel like you have a bad taste in your mouth? They are unpleasant symptoms to be sure, but there is often a simple solution — dental floss. Most people know they should be flossing regularly, but many still fail to perform this vital habit daily as is recommended. Unfortunately, not flossing leads to bad breath and a host of other oral health hazards. Keep reading to learn more about the importance of flossing and how you can pick up a good health habit this month.
Floss Reaches Where Your Toothbrush Can’t
No matter how well you brush your teeth, there are some places that just can’t be reached — like in between teeth, or up around the edges with your gums. That’s why brushing and flossing together lead to a well-rounded oral hygiene routine. Once you have finished cleaning with a toothbrush for two minutes, take a journey around each tooth with a strand of dental floss to really achieve a complete clean.
How to Floss Properly
Flossing correctly isn’t taking a rapid-fire attack around your mouth with the strand of floss. It requires a gentle approach, slowly working your way up between and around each tooth.
- Use a new piece of dental floss every time you floss. Start with a piece about 18 inches long.
- Wrap both ends of the floss around your middle fingers, leaving a section about an inch wide to work with.
- Work this section between the teeth and around the base of the gums. Think of the dental floss scrubbing along the surface of the tooth — this is how it removes bacteria and prevents plaque and tartar buildup.
- Using a new section of floss between each tooth, continue until you have cleaned in all the spaces. Be sure to clean behind the very back teeth, too.
It’s Time to Start a Flossing Habit
No matter how long it’s been since you were really good about flossing, it’s never too late to get back in the swing of things. They say it takes about two weeks to start a new habit, so it won’t be long before using dental floss is just second nature. Eventually, you won’t feel complete until you’ve finished this step.
Some tips for developing a flossing habit include:
- Leave the floss somewhere you’re sure to see it at night.
- Place a note on your bathroom mirror, or set an alarm on your phone.
- Make your partner or family member an accountability partner. Tell them about your effort to floss (and encourage them to join if they need to, too!).
- Keep track of your progress on a calendar — it creates a visual record that may help you continue the habit.
To conclude, flossing is a vital part of every healthy smile. Even if you’re not in the habit right now, with just a little effort, it won’t be long before you are!
Meet the Practice
The Mor Smiles team offers comprehensive dentistry to all of Lancaster County. They want to remind patients that flossing is VIP — to discuss more about why or to schedule a checkup and cleaning this summer, you are invited to contact your family dentist in Lancaster at 717-961-5767.