There have been many articles posted online over the past several years claiming that there is little scientific backing to the practice of flossing. This has been incredibly unfortunate because those studies have been misrepresented by the internet’s love of sensational headlines. Flossing your teeth is incredibly beneficial for preventing decay as long as proper technique is learned and used.
There were several studies that have been cited in those articles, and one shows both the problem and the solution. In this study, one group of people had their teeth flossed by a hygienist every day and another flossed their own. The group with the professional flossing was nearly half as likely as the other group to develop cavities. The difference between flossing technique is what makes the difference.
In general, flossing technique is sloppy and ineffective. A taught length of floss is snapped between a pair of teeth, pulled down and up, irritating the gums and barely scraping the teeth. This technique doesn’t do you any good. You need to use the floss with more care to get the benefit from flossing your teeth. Here’s what you do instead.
To floss your teeth properly, take 18-24 inches of floss from your dispenser and wrap the ends around your fingers until you have a length of 3-4 inches between them. Hold the floss tightly against a tooth ad pull it into a C-shape so it covers all sides of the teeth. Pull the floss back and forth from front to back and up and down. This will ensure the most coverage and effectiveness in removing plaque.
For more information about proper hygiene techniques or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Kinney and Musser, feel free to contact Art & Science Family Dentistry in Woodbury, Minnesota, today!