How should I floss? All your questions about flossing answered

By September 9, 2019 No Comments

Flossing is an important part of your oral hygiene regimen. While many can’t find the time to floss, not flossing can lead to cavities, gingivitis, or even gum disease. Brushing alone will only clean 60% of the surfaces of your teeth! With a bit of practice, flossing and cleaning in between your teeth can become second nature and an easy way to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

What should I use to floss?

For most people, regular dental floss is a great way to clean in between the teeth. You can also use “flossettes” (sometimes called “floss picks”), which have a piece of floss strung between some plastic and people find easy to use. Another option is to use interdental brushes, which are a small brush on the end of a piece of plastic shaped like a toothpick. You should speak to your dentist about which one is right for you, and how to use it.

How do I floss?

Flossing can be tricky, but with the proper technique and practice can become an easy habit to keep up. For regular floss, wrap about 45cm around your middle fingers, and create a taut area between your two thumbs. Pop this in between the teeth, down towards the gums as far as you can comfortably go. Wrap the floss around one tooth and gently saw it backwards and forwards, then repeat this on the other tooth. Repeat this for in between every tooth.

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Click here to watch a video on how to floss, and other tips on your oral health.

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What are interdental brushes?

Interdental brushes are bottle-brush shaped instruments that are inserted in between the teeth instead of floss. They are particularly useful for people with larger gaps between their teeth. There are many different brands, such as TePe, or Piksters. The important thing is to choose the right size brush for the gaps between your teeth.

How do I use interdental brushes?

Your dentist will help you pick the right size interdental brush for you (they come in a very large variety of sizes) and show you the correct way to use them. They work by placing the brush in between the teeth, and brushing backwards and forwards to remove plaque. They can be rinsed and reused.

Wondering which interdental brush is right for you? Click here to request an appointment with one of our dentists.

Click here to watch a video on how to floss, and other tips on your oral health.

How often should I floss?

At least once a day – whatever time suits you, this is a good time to floss. Most people find that before bed is the best time, but your dentist will be happy so long as you’re regularly flossing!

My gums bleed when I floss, is something wrong?

Bleeding gums can be caused by many conditions – the most common of which is gingivitis, or inflammation of the gums. Generally, this is caused by a build-up of plaque around the gums. With regular cleaning from brushing and flossing, the gingivitis should resolve within 2 weeks. If there’s persistent bleeding or you have any concerns, make an appointment to see your dentist.

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When should my child start flossing?

Flossing should start as soon as two teeth touch – try to make flossing a fun game for your child! And ask your dentist to show you how your child’s teeth should be cleaned. Generally speaking, you should help your child floss until about 10 years of age.

Click here to read more about caring for your child’s teeth.

The advice given in this post is general. Please seek an opinion from your dentist or qualified health practitioner.

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