“Do you floss regularly?” the dental hygienist asked as I stared at her blankly. Well, I’ve thought about flossing from time to time – I wonder if that counts. The truth is, most people just don’t like to floss. They consider it a chore, an extra activity that isn’t necessary.
The American Dental Association, on the other hand, sees things a bit differently.
But is your aversion to flossing due to confusion? If so, here’s how the professionals recommend you do it:
- Start with about a foot and half (18 inches) of dental floss and wind most of it around your middle fingers.
- Hold it tightly with your index and thumbs as you guide the floss between your teeth, gently rubbing in.
- Once you reach the gum, curve the floss into a C-shape around a side of the tooth, and gently slide it around that space.
- Repeat these steps for all sides of the tooth.
In addition to brushing and flossing, you should also consider other ways to care of your teeth. For example, did you know that xylitol, a common sweetener and sugar substitute, may actually promote oral health? (Chew on this: xylitol gum and xylitol mints are available in multiple flavors!)
Or consider adding a mouthwash or oral rinse to your routine after brushing and flossing. (Bonus: you’ll have minty fresh breath for tonight’s date!)
Just remember this phrase the next time you consider skipping this important step in dental care: You don’t have to floss ALL your teeth, just the ones you want to keep!