Floss West MI Family Dentists

Most people move through their at-home oral hygiene routines only brushing their teeth. Flossing is often ignored unless there is a piece of food stuck or you’re a week or so out from your next teeth cleaning. However, our West MI dentists encourage you to floss at least once every day for the sake of your oral health.

Here’s what you need to know about flossing and why it’s important.

What Flossing Does for Your Mouth

Sure, flossing is a task that takes time out of your day. That’s not how you should look at it though as it’s more than that. Flossing in between teeth helps to remove plaque which otherwise can build up and form tartar.

If left alone, tartar can lead to cavities and gum disease. Even tooth loss may occur in cases where tartar has been severely neglected. In reality, flossing pulls more weight than people assume and without it, you’re leaving areas of your teeth and gums unclean.

Types of Floss Available

The oral care aisle at the grocery store offers a slew of options when it comes to floss. So, how do you know which one to choose? Our dentists recommend selecting the type of floss or flossing product that works best for you. What’s easiest for you to hold, work with, and get the job done adequately.

For many, standard waxed or woven floss is fine and slides between teeth nicely. If you have more space between each tooth, you might find that dental tape works better. Compared to traditional floss, dental tape is broader and flatter.

Other floss options our dentists approve of include:

  • Floss threaders
  • Disposable floss picks
  • Electric water flossers

We suggest you start with standard floss and if it’s not to your liking, branch out to other flossing products. Feel free to also ask our dentists for recommendations or tips if you need additional help.

How to Floss (the Right Way)

Learning how to floss is nothing complicated but it’s not uncommon for people to go too fast, be too rough, or miss spots. If done improperly, flossing can potentially damage your teeth and gums.

Our step-by-step guide below should help make the process easier and clear up any questions you may have had. We recommend flossing at least once a day and doing so before you brush your teeth to remove leftover food particles.

Bonus: flossing can also help give you fresher breath so don’t skip it!

Instructions for thorough flossing:

  • Tear off about 18-24 inches of floss.
  • Wrap most of the floss around both of your middle fingers, leaving about 1-2 inches for use on your teeth.
  • Use your thumbs and index fingers to tightly hold the floss and place it between two teeth.
  • Carefully and gently move the floss up and down to rub it against both sides of each tooth. Try not to glide the floss into your gums as this can cause scratching and bruising.
  • Curve the floss into a “C” shape once it reaches your gums, so it hugs the base of your tooth. By doing this, you’re allowing the floss to enter the space between your gums and tooth.
  • Repeat the above steps until you’ve finished flossing between every tooth (even behind your back molars!) and use a clean section of floss as you go.

Set Your Teeth Up for Success

Though tempting to ignore, flossing can greatly impact the health of your teeth and gums. Call one of our MI Smiles locations to schedule an appointment with our family dentists in West Michigan and learn more about the benefits of using floss.