flossing guide

flossing guideMaryville, Alcoa and Knoxville TN

If you came here hoping to find the ultimate “how-to” guide to flossing – the Internet sensation dance all the young kids are doing these days, well, we hate to disappoint you, but our blog today is about flossing your teeth!

Whether or not you grew up visiting your dentist regularly, pretty much all of us have heard, read, or been advised to floss our teeth, but are you actually doing it every day? Better yet, are you flossing correctly? In case you have not been informed, flossing essentially cleans between your teeth. Brushing cleans about two-thirds of your teeth, so if you aren’t flossing, you miss cleaning the other third! This kind of thought pattern wouldn’t make any sense when it came to washing your body, your dishes, or even your house for that matter, so your teeth shouldn’t be any different.

Family dentist Dr. Ben Sentell in Alcoa wants to share with you the ultimate guide to flossing your teeth so that you can be sure to keep your oral hygiene in check.

Why is flossing so important?

Flossing is important because it is the most effective way of removing food debris, bacteria, and biofilm – the sticky substance that forms on our teeth from all of the bacteria in our mouths breaking down food, from between your teeth. When biofilm gets left behind for too long, it turns into a hard substance referred to as plaque or tartar, which only your dental hygienist can scrap away. The better you are at cleaning the biofilm off your teeth, the less tartar buildup you will have at your next dental cleaning. And, the less likely you are to develop cavities or gum disease.

How should I floss?

A lot of people think they are doing enough by popping a string of floss between their teeth, but they actually aren’t doing it correctly. To floss correctly, make sure that you ease the floss between your teeth as you don’t want to injure your gums. Then, carefully slide the floss in an up and down motion against the side of each tooth, making a “U” shaped motion as you move along the gum line. Continue doing this technique until you have flossed all of your teeth.

Why do my gums bleed when I floss?

Noticing a little pink in the sink when you floss? Bleeding gums could point to a couple of different things. First, you could be flossing too hard, so be sure you are in fact following the technique we discussed above. Second, gums tend to bleed when they are irritated, which can happen if you get a piece of food stuck between your teeth for too long, even just for a day. Third, if you don’t think that either of those two is to blame for your bleeding gums, it could be because you have the first stage of gum disease known as gingivitis. More than half of adults have gingivitis, so this would not be uncommon. If this is the case, only an oral health care professional can diagnose it for sure, and luckily, you can reverse it by continuing to brush and floss daily. Your gums will toughen up in no time!

When should my kids start flossing their teeth?

This is a question we often get from parents and caregivers. Kids should begin adapting this oral hygiene routine as soon as their teeth begin to touch, which is usually during the toddler years or around 2-3 years old. Floss sticks come in handy for flossing those tiny teeth. Encourage this habit in your child, and they will never think any different about flossing when they become an adult.

Family Dentist in Maryville

If you would like to learn more about the services that we offer at Cedar Street Family Dentistry, or just want us to show you how to floss correctly, give us a call at (865) 233-7640. We welcome patients of all ages from Alcoa, Maryville, and the entire Knoxville area.