Flossing is the best way to remove plaque and prevent gum disease. Plaque, which is made up of bacteria, food particles, and saliva, builds up on your teeth and gums. If you don’t remove it daily, it hardens into tartar. If left untreated, gum disease can cause tooth loss.
It also helps remove debris that might otherwise be swallowed or left behind during brushing. If you don’t floss regularly, you could develop cavities or periodontal (gum) disease.
Here are 4 simple steps to help you learn how to floss back teeth at home:
- Get ready
Fill a glass with warm water and swish it around in your mouth for 30 seconds to soften any food particles stuck between your teeth. Spit out the water and then wipe your gums with a clean tissue or cotton swab dipped in mouthwash or peroxide solution (one part peroxide mixed with four parts water).Wet your hands with warm water and lather up with a small amount of toothpaste. This helps to soften the plaque and food particles that can get stuck in between your teeth.
Hold a length of dental floss between your thumb and forefinger so that it forms a “C” shape around each finger as shown above (the two fingers should be touching). Then gently use this to push the floss into the space between your teeth by pressing down on either end of the floss until it fits between two teeth.
- Pressing down
Press down on each side of your tooth with your thumb and forefinger to widen up the space between them so that they can fit over the wire on either side of the floss, which will help you guide it into place easily without hurting yourself or damaging any fillings or crowns.Once both sides are pressed down, gently pull back on the floss until it comes out from between your two teeth without letting go of either side yet! You want to keep them pressed down as far as possible so that they stay in place when you take off.
- Sawing motion
Use a gentle sawing motion as you slide the floss up and down between each pair of teeth. Never snap or jerk the floss into place — this can damage your gums and make them sore or bleed!Rinse with water after you have finished flossing all of your teeth; then brush afterwards as well to remove any excess debris that may have been loosened by flossing.
- Pull out a length of floss that’s about 18 inches long
You don’t want to use too much or too little — just enough to cover all areas between your teeth that need cleaning. If you have bridges or implants, use shorter pieces of floss around them so they don’t get caught up in them.Wind the floss tightly around one middle finger or a wooden pick or tongue depressor until it’s about 3 inches long. This will help keep the floss taut as you move it between your teeth and ensure that there are no gaps between your teeth where bacteria can hide out and grow into cavities!