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Nearly half of adults in America have gum disease. That’s 64.7 million adults age 30 and older.

Knowing how to use floss properly is essential. Otherwise, you could develop gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, which can cause your teeth to fall out.

Keep reading to discover the best way to use floss and why flossing matters.

That way, you can improve your oral hygiene and avoid losing your teeth!

Why Flossing Matters

Nearly a third of Americans never floss their teeth. These adults are more likely to develop gum disease or other health issues.

Gum disease, or gingivitis, occurs when bacteria and plaque build up around your teeth. Symptoms include:

  • Swollen or inflamed gums
  • Red, sometimes purple gums
  • Pain when your gums are touched
  • Extra space between your teeth
  • Receding gums
  • Bleeding when you brush or floss
  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth

When done correctly, flossing can help remove bacteria that otherwise promote inflammation and disease. Without proper flossing, however, you’re leaving yourself vulnerable. Your bite might feel different as well.

Here are five more reasons learning how to use floss properly is important.

1. Flossing Prevent Tartar Buildup

Has a hygienist or dentist ever scraped a hard tool across your teeth to remove tartar? Tartar is hard plaque that you can’t remove without a professional’s help. The process is uncomfortable, if not tedious.

Knowing how to use floss properly can prevent tartar from building around your gum line.

By flossing regularly, you can keep plaque away from your teeth while it’s still soft and pliable. Otherwise, the plaque will develop into tartar, hardening so you can’t remove it alone.

In order to fight tartar build up effectively, you need to floss and brush daily. You can also use an ADA-approved mouthwash to keep plaque and tartar at bay.

Flossing removes tartar from developing around your gums.

However, you still need a fluoride toothpaste or mouthwash to strengthen your tooth enamel. Using both allows you to remove plaque, then give your teeth a proper cleaning.

2. It Prevents Disease

Tooth and gum disease can cause discomfort, bad breath, and discoloration across your teeth. The bacteria that build in an unhealthy mouth can also affect the rest of your body.

For example, these bacteria can lead to respiratory illness, heart disease, and diabetes.

Without using floss to keep a clean mouth, you’re letting these bacteria grow and spread. As a result, improving your oral health can improve your overall wellbeing, too.

3. Flossing Saves Money

We’ve already mentioned the health risks that increase when you don’t know how to use floss correctly. However, you have to consider the financial risks as well.

Imagine developing a disease such as gingivitis, periodontitis, heart disease, or diabetes. You’ll need to schedule a doctor’s appointment, take medications, and deal with other medical expenses. As more people need to treat these medical concerns, health care costs will rise.

At the same time, insurance benefits are likely to decrease.

Taking preventative measures can help you avoid these health concerns.

That includes flossing!

That way, you’re saving money and avoiding future health costs down the road.

4. It Protects Your Gums

Many people think proper oral hygiene only affects the teeth. It’s important to remember your gums are in there as well.

Your jaw anchors your teeth by their roots. Then, the bones and roots are covered by the gum’s sensitive tissue. Flossing helps you clean where the gums and teeth meet.

Otherwise, you’re allowing small particles of food to hide away in those spaces.

When food hides away, bacteria builds. This gives plaque the time to develop and harden into tartar. Then, tartar causes gingivitis, leading your gums to get red and swollen.

Without treatment, the tartar spreads even deeper, below the gum line. This is when periodontitis forms, leading to inflammation and tooth loss.

Learning how to floss will help you protect your gums where your toothbrush can’t.

5. Flossing & Brushing are Better Together

It’s not enough to brush twice a day. You need to floss your teeth as well.

Your toothbrush removes plaque from your teeth. Then, toothpaste uses fluoride to reduce the bacteria in your mouth. However, a toothbrush and toothpaste can’t clean the food hidden between your teeth.

That’s where your floss comes in!

By using floss to keep a clean mouth, you’re improving your overall oral health. That way, you’re making your toothbrush and toothpaste more effective at their job.

5 Tips for Proper Flossing

Now you understand why it’s important to know how to use floss properly. Here’s how you do it!

1. Grab Your Floss

First, break off about 18 inches of floss. Wind about half around one of your middle fingers. Then, wind the remaining floss around your middle finger of your opposite hand.

Leave a small amount of floss between your two hands.

As the floss becomes dirty, you’ll release floss from the first finger. Then, wrap the used floss around the finger on your opposite hand.

2. Pinch It

Next, hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers. Your grip allows you to guide the floss and control its movement between your teeth.

3. Guide It

Then, tuck the floss between two teeth. Guide the floss between your teeth by starting a gentle rubbing motion.

Remain careful not to snap the floss into the gums. This can aggravate your gums and cause them to bleed.

4. Curve It

Curve the floss into a C shape against one tooth when you reach the gum line. Then, slide the floss into the space between the gum and the tooth. This will allow you to remove any food particles that have hidden away.

5. Up and Down

Hold the floss against one tooth. Then, gently rub the floss against the slide of your gums. Use an up and down motion to clean your teeth thoroughly.

Repeat these steps for your remaining teeth.

Floss Flawlessly: How to Use Floss for Proper Oral Hygiene

Now that you know how to use floss properly, start flossing! By flossing every day, you can maintain oral hygiene and keep gingivitis away.

Ready for a cleaning? Contact us today to schedule your next appointment!