Am I Flossing Right?

girl holding floss by her teeth in chandler

Knowing how and how often to floss properly is essential for keeping good oral hygiene. Flossing removes plaque that can develop between your teeth and helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease by cleaning the tight spaces in between teeth that your toothbrush can’t seem to reach. Take the time to learn how to floss properly to ensure that your teeth are healthy and beautiful for years to come.

Floss Once a Day

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends flossing your teeth once a day. If you get into the habit of flossing before you go to bed at night, you won’t need to worry about flossing more than that. Excessive flossing is ineffective and can actually cause damage and irritation to sensitive gum tissue.

Use a Gentle Touch

It’s important to be gentle when flossing. Many people apply a lot of pressure or use a vigorous sawing motion, thinking this will get their teeth clean. But this kind of forceful flossing can lead to bleeding gums. Instead, floss lightly. Do not force or snap the floss against the gums. Try to use the side of the tooth to slide the floss gently into place.

Standard Floss: Waxed vs. Unwaxed

What is the difference between waxed and unwaxed floss, even if it’s just a preference? Nylon floss comes in both varieties, and there are some pros and cons to each. Waxed floss glides more easily between teeth, snaps less often and is softer against your gumline. Unwaxed floss can be more effective in parsing out fine debris particles and for reaching between crowded teeth, but it can snap and snare on teeth. Shredded floss can occur when you have rough surfaces in your mouth, such as uneven teeth, old fillings or braces. Likewise, constant snaring may injure gums and cause discomfort or bleeding.

close up of floss and teeth male

Unfortunately, many people disregard this wisdom, with statistics published in U.S. News and World Report showing that only about one-third of the U.S. population flosses daily. But common or uncommon, it’s integral to preventing tooth loss and gum disease.

How often should I floss?

You should floss at least once a day, and do so by moving the floss in a push-pull and up-and-down motion between your teeth. To get the best results, particularly if you have braces or other oral considerations, it’s always best to seek your dentist’s instruction on the best way to floss your teeth.

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boy and girl brushing their teeth

Brushing your teeth might not be your favorite thing, but it has to be done to so we don’t develop gingivitis, cavities or other dental diseases. Yet, it seems almost impossible to get kids excited about their dental health. Here are our 6 tricks that can work wonders for you and your children.

1. Do it together

Brushing along with your child, makes it easy to ensure they’re doing it and it can also make it a fun activity for them. When they see a role model or adult doing it, they think it’s a good thing to do, which it is! When you are a working parent, kids look forward to planned “together time.” It doesn’t’ matter if its reading a book together or brushing your teeth. Also, if they see you are committed to it, it will encourage them to start feeling the same way

Manual toothbrush colors

2. Let them choose

There’s a reason why grocery stores offer various types of toothbrushes for adults and hundreds of variations for kids. Kids don’t always make a lot of decisions in their life, but they might feel empowered when they can choose the look of their toothbrush. It’s like having a favorite stuffed animal or doll they play with. It’s the same for a toothbrush.

3. Make it a game

We know kids get distracted easily. If brushing your teeth together doesn’t work, it might be time to find a way to make it a game. Come up with some simple challenges or games to keep them brushing. Even playing a song while brushing can encourage good health. Furthermore, you could try making bubbles with the toothpaste or create fun analogies to their favorite activities to keep them brushing longer.

4. Set up a reward system

Some children are motivated by rewards, no matter how small they might be. By setting up a reward system, you can encourage consistent tooth cleaning. For example, if they remember to brush, you can get them their favorite snack or cook them their favorite breakfast. Or create a star chart like they have in school. After a week of consistent brushing, give them a weekend reward.

5. Use books and videos

Kids are easily attracted and influenced by books and videos. Luckily when your kids gets bored of brushing with you, you can turn to books and resources out there that offer fun lessons on how and why to brush. You can probably find hundreds of cartoon videos on YouTube of children having fun while brushing, which shows to your child that they can have fun, too.

6. Invest in an electric toothbrush

Sometimes a manual toothbrush isn’t enough to have fun. Electric toothbrushes can be expensive for working parents and they may tend to pass on buying one for a kid that is just going to grow out of it. Nonetheless, the small investment can really go a long way. Especially if your child is already having trouble getting excited about brushing. Electric toothbrushes are actually better at cleaning your teeth and can be more like a toy for your kid as it tickles and makes funny noises. Just make sure you teeth them how to properly use it beforehand.

All in all, most kids won’t become consistent brushers just because you tell them to. Encouraging your child to brush using fun and creative ways can make it an enjoyable experience for them. This will create better dental habits for them.

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