Flossing Tips for Healthy Gums

by | Jul 11, 2024

Maintaining proper oral hygiene is essential to protecting your smile. But it’s not enough just to brush your teeth. Brushing and flossing for healthy gums are crucial, yet only 41 percent of Americans floss. And as many as 20 percent of people never floss at all.[1]

With those numbers in mind, the following tips regarding flossing for healthy gums will help protect you from cavities and gum disease and maintain a strong and healthy smile for years.

The Importance of Flossing for Healthy Gums

Many people see flossing as not much more than an add-on to brushing, but it is, in fact, a core part of a proper oral hygiene routine. Flossing removes plaque buildup from areas you can’t reach with a toothbrush, such as between teeth and under the gum.

Plaque contributes to both gum disease and tooth decay, as it harbors bacteria. As those bacteria infiltrate the gum line, they cause gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease. Eventually, if left untreated, things progress to more severe stages of gum disease, such as gum recession and even tooth loss. Flossing for healthy gums helps prevent that while safeguarding tooth enamel from cavities and decay.

Following the Proper Flossing Technique

The most crucial detail to get right is to ensure you’re flossing twice daily and not skipping over it. However, it’s also vital to implement proper techniques to remove bacteria and bits of food from every nook and cranny.

First, you’ll need to get the right length of floss. Most people underestimate how much they need. Ideally, go with around 18 to 24 inches. To start, wind most of the floss around a finger on one hand, then run the free end to a finger on your other hand to have a short length ready to go.

Grip the floss tightly and gently and slide it between teeth using a back-and-forth motion. When you reach the gumline, angle the floss so it wraps around the tooth as much as possible. Be gentle; you don’t want to irritate or damage your gums. As you go along, shift more of your reserve to the other finger, preparing a clean section of floss for each tooth. You don’t want to spread bacteria and bits of food around your mouth.

Choosing the Right Type of Floss

There are many different types of dental floss out there, and choosing the right type for your needs can help support your gum health. Ask your periodontist about the right kind if you have specific needs, such as frequent gum issues, dental implants, and dental restorations.

Waxed floss is the most common form of dental floss, and its coating makes it easy to slide back and forth in tight spaces. Unwaxed floss is similar. It just lacks the wax coating. It’s thinner, letting you reach even narrower spaces, but it is more likely to get caught and break, making flossing more difficult overall.

There are also options such as floss threaders and interdental brushes. These are often recommended in specific cases, such as when an individual has braces or dental restorations, to improve reach and ease of use.

Additional Tips for Healthy Gums

Flossing is vital, but you can’t swing to the opposite extreme and overlook brushing. Make sure you brush twice daily for at least four minutes each time. Choosing the right toothpaste and toothbrush is also important. Replace your toothbrush every three months or sooner so that it always cleans appropriately.

Keeping up with regular visits to your periodontist is another crucial step in protecting your gums. They’ll provide professional cleanings that remove plaque and tartar deposits from even the tightest spots.

Taking the Best Care of Your Oral Health

The benefits of flossing are clear, providing a bright, beautiful, and healthy smile. You can protect your teeth and gums by adopting proper flossing habits and sticking to them.

Of course, routine check-ups and other treatments are also essential to safeguard your oral health. Schedule your next appointment with Dental Implants & Periodontal Health of Rochester by calling 585-685-2005 or contacting us online to get started.



[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6434526/

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