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Woman flossing

Scheduling regular teeth cleanings with a dentist is a key part of family dental care in St. Charles. However, dentists advise that at-home oral hygiene practices are just as important to keeping your family’s smiles healthy. Each family member should brush twice per day with a fluoride toothpaste and floss every night before bed. Keep reading to learn why you should choose a quality dental floss, apply a gentle technique, and use a repeated motion when you floss your teeth.

Quality Floss

As your dentist will tell you, the first step in flossing your teeth correctly is picking a high-quality dental floss. Dentists recommend picking a waxed or unwaxed floss in your flavor of choice. Both multifilament and single filament flosses are excellent at removing plaque and debris. However, a pediatric dentist often prefers single filament floss, as it slides more easily between teeth and resists shredding. Single filament floss is slightly pricier, so it is important to pick the best floss for your budget and needs.

Gentle Technique

Dentists caution patients of all ages to be gentle when flossing the teeth. Just as a dentist discourages brushing too hard, being too aggressive with dental floss can remove outer tooth enamel. If you are not gentle when flossing, you may also get tiny cuts on your gum line. These cuts can become infected, causing the gums to become tender and inflamed. When you floss, make sure to go beneath the gumline using moderate force.

Repeated Motion

The key to healthy teeth and gums is flossing with a repeated back-and-forth motion. Using about 18 inches of floss, wind the string tautly between your thumbs and index fingers. Make sure to curve the floss around the base of each tooth to remove any hidden plaque. To remove the floss, use the same back-and-forth motion to bring the floss out and away from the teeth. Always use a clean section of floss as you move between the teeth.