I had recently gone to a dentist, and I was very nervous. I hadn’t been to a dentist since 2011 — a six-year gap between preventive visits. I have always been good about keeping up with my preventive visits, but I had no idea what to expect at this visit.
I filled out the proper paperwork and nervously waited for the dentist. When he came in, I immediately started confessing about how I had been neglecting the health of my mouth. I told him it had been six years since my last dental examination. I also told him I hadn’t been flossing my teeth every single day. He smiled and asked if I was feeling any pain anywhere in my mouth. Thankfully, I had no pain at all. He smiled again and said, “Then we have nothing to worry about.”
The biggest takeaway from the appointment: He doesn’t expect adults to floss every single day but asks them to floss at least one in a while to help clean between their teeth.
So, what is the most effective way of flossing your teeth? According to the American Dental Association, there are five simple steps in proper flossing.
Step 1: Take about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it on one of your middle fingers. Then wind the remaining floss on your other middle finger.
Step 2: To start flossing, you want to hold the floss tightly between your thumb and forefingers.
Step 3: Gently guide the floss between your teeth, making sure you are using a gentle rubbing motion. Never snap the floss into the gums.
Step 4: Once the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a “C” shape against one of the teeth. Slide the floss very gently into the space between the gum and the tooth.
Step 5: While holding the floss tightly against the tooth, gently rub the side of the tooth with up and down motions away from the gums. Repeat the method on the rest of the teeth, then throw the used floss away.
These five easy steps will help your teeth and gums stay healthy. If you don’t have a dentist to help with the health of your mouth, find one so you can establish you preventive visits.
Reference: American Dental Association 5 Steps to Flawless Floss: http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/f/flossing-steps