We hope you had your share of Halloween candy (a little, not too much), and if you’re like us, you are looking forward to a Thanksgiving meal with loved ones.
The day after Thanksgiving is important, too. Not because of the Black Friday sales, but because it’s National Flossing Day!
OK, OK … maybe that isn’t exactly exciting, but it is important. Flossing plays a vital role in helping you maintain your gum health, your oral health, and even your overall health. Why? Because regular flossing reduces your risk of gum disease.
Today, we want to discuss the proper way to floss and some alternatives for people who can’t or won’t floss daily.
Refresh Yourself on the Basics of Oral Care
By this point in your life, you already know what you need to do to be healthy (eat a balanced diet, exercise). You also know what to do for the sake of good dental health:
- Get regular dental checkups (including cleanings and exams)
- Brush your teeth twice daily
- Floss every day
Yes, you should clean between your teeth daily. Yet, a recent survey by the American Dental Association found that a majority of people (6 in 10) don’t floss daily. That includes 2 in 10 who say they never floss.
Those figures could help explain why a majority of American will develop gum disease at one point or another.
The good news about floss is that there are many different kinds you can use — waxed or unwaxed, flavored or unflavored, and different sizes, too. In other words, you can probably find a floss that works for you and your teeth.
Whatever kind you use, the basics are the same. Break off a piece about 18 inches long. Wrap the ends around your middle fingers. Hold the floss between your index fingers and thumbs with about an inch or so of floss between them.
Gently work the floss between each of your teeth. You want to hug the floss around your teeth on both sides to clean below your gumline as well.
You can see a demonstration of this technique in this video by the ADA.
What to Do If You Hate Flossing
If you really don’t like flossing or you can’t, then you do have at least two other options for cleaning between your teeth.
The first is to use flossers. You have probably seen these in the toothpaste aisle. They have short handles with a string of floss on one end.
Some people find that dental floss is uncomfortable on their fingers. Other people have trouble reaching the teeth in the back of their mouths. Flossers address both of those issues. The handle makes them more comfortable to hold, and it makes it easier to reach the back of your mouth.
The other option is to use a water flosser. These tools generate a stream of water that you can aim at your mouth to clean the spaces that your toothbrush can’t clean as well. There are a wide variety of these tools available in stores and online. With a little research, you can find one that works for you and fits your budget.
Stay Healthy & Happy
Gum disease has been linked with cardiovascular disease, diabetes complications, and even heart attacks. Preventing gum infections with dental checkups, daily brushing, and daily flossing can keep your smile healthy.