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How to Floss Your Way to Healthier Gums

How to Floss Your Way to Healthier Gums

You probably already know it’s important to floss every day, but do you know why? Good flossing practices help you avoid gum disease, stop tooth decay, and keep your mouth feeling fresh. 

Regular professional dental cleanings and flossing daily at home are essential for optimal oral health. The experts at Hometown Family Dental Centers offer routine cleaning and dental exams to patients of all ages. With several convenient locations in Fayetteville, Raeford, and Vass, North Carolina, our dentists can diagnose dental issues early on.

Identifying potential issues early prevents painful, costly dental problems in the future. Flossing also helps you avoid troublesome oral health issues.

Do bleeding gums prevent you from flossing?

If you discover blood after brushing or flossing your teeth, it’s time to take action. A little blood in the sink after brushing or flossing may not seem that serious — especially when it's not associated with pain — but it can be a sign of gum disease, along with:

If you notice any of these symptoms, call Hometown Family Dental Centers to make an appointment. The earlier you address the problem, the easier it is to treat. In the meantime, you can do a lot for your irritated gums yourself to restore them to health.

How to floss: Step by step

Using dental floss is as essential as brushing your teeth. Floss is an oral health tool designed to slip through the narrow crevices between your teeth. It removes any debris that mouthwash or brushing with a toothbrush may have left behind. 

If you don't floss daily, small food fragments and debris gather between your teeth. Bacteria form, and you might notice chronic foul breath. If the bacteria spread, they will erode your tooth enamel, cause inflammation, and may even result in gum disease.

Proper use of dental floss is critical to its effectiveness. Here’s a step-by-step look at the best way to floss your teeth. 

Step 1

Take a piece of dental floss from the package that’s about 12-18 inches long. Wind most of it around one of your middle fingers and the rest around the middle finger on your other hand. You’ll unwind fresh floss from the one finger and collect used floss on the other.

Step 2

Hold a section of dental floss that’s approximately 1 inch wide between your thumb and forefinger of both hands. These are your guide fingers into the oral cavity.

Step 3

Gently slide the floss between your teeth and gums with a sawing motion. Don’t snap or yank the floss into your gums. Carefully hug each tooth with the floss, moving the thread back and forth and then up and down, once forward and once backward. 

If you floss correctly, you can remove food debris and some of the harmful biofilm.  

Improve your oral care habits

Gum disease is most often caused by inadequate brushing and flossing. So if you've been in a hurry to get your teeth cleaned lately, it's time for some adjustments to your routine. Brush your teeth for two minutes at least twice a day with a soft toothbrush.

Also, because food particles often get stuck between the teeth, it’s imperative to floss at least once a day. Here are a few more tips to help you reach your goal of healthier gums.

Eat a gum-friendly diet

Your diet affects the health of your gums more than you might think. It's not just sugary foods that you need to watch out for. To promote gum health, you also want to limit alcohol, sticky carbs like bread and potato chips, and sour candies. 

Nutrient-dense foods like fruits and vegetables nourish your gums, helping them stay strong and healthy. Plus, crunchy foods like apples and carrots help remove plaque naturally. 

Give up smoking

You already know smoking is bad for your lungs, but did you know it's bad for your gums? Scientists agree that smoking prevents your gums from receiving essential nutrients. This makes gums more susceptible to the type of inflammation that leads to gum disease. We know it's tough to quit, but it's one of the best things you can do for your health, your gums included.

Visit the dentist regularly

A professional teeth cleaning is a routine treatment that helps you achieve and maintain healthy gums and excellent oral health. Regular dental care is just as important as daily brushing at home. 

Teeth cleanings remove bacteria, plaque, and tartar in your mouth — making it easier for you to keep up your home brushing and flossing routine — and leave you with shiny teeth and fresh breath. In addition to preventing oral health problems, teeth cleaning is essential to maintaining good general physical health, not just oral health.

Are you due for a cleaning, or do you have questions about your flossing technique? Call Hometown Family Dental Centers today to schedule an appointment, or request an appointment online.

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