The best tips for flossing include using the correct amount of clean dental floss, avoiding cutting into the gums, and devoting a sufficient amount of time to the procedure. It's also important to remember to rinse out your mouth when you finish using dental floss to remove the loosened debris. Another good tip to aid in proper flossing is to use a floss holder whenever it is difficult to manipulate dental floss. A toothbrush can't remove food and accumulated plaque between teeth or under the gums. Using the correct procedure during flossing is an important step in a person's daily dental hygiene procedure.
Experts recommend flossing at least once a day. This ritual is best performed during a time when the most attention can be devoted to the task. Saliva aids in the removal of food particles during the day, but decreases during sleep. This means flossing is most needed in the evening, immediately before retiring to bed for the night.
Dental flossing should be accomplished with at least 18 inches (45.72cm) of floss wound around the middle two fingers. The floss is then held between the thumb and first finger. When it becomes soiled or tattered, the floss is unwound slightly from one hand, and the slack taken up with the other hand. This gives a fresh, clean piece of dental floss to use on the next tooth.
The dental floss should be held against a tooth and moved in an upward and downward motion, covering all surfaces of each tooth. The floss should move under the gum line to clean food and plaque from this area. Care should be taken not to place the floss in the gum area between the teeth. This may cause a dimple in the gum area, which can cause permanent damage to the gums.
People who experience trouble with manipulating dental floss can use a dental floss holder. Another helpful tool is a disposable holder that is preloaded with floss. If the teeth are close together and it's difficult to get the floss between the teeth, the waxed floss can be helpful. Waxed floss usually glides between small crevices better than the plain variety.
After flossing, mouth wash or plain water should be swished in the mouth. The liquid is then spit out to remove all traces of debris. If food particles are left in the mouth, they can become hardened plaque and cause cavities. For this reason, it's important to rinse and spit for proper dental hygiene.