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“Do you floss?” your dentist asks. You crane your neck to the side. Your eyes flitter around like a common housefly. “Uh, sure. Sure, I do.” You lie. It’s more obvious than a self-announced metaphor in a John Greene novel. We all make excuses as to why we don’t floss, but flossing is fundamentally crucial to dental health and hygiene.

Today, Alkali Dental Studios are bringing us their five top tips for flossing like a pro:

  1. Start from the top – when most people floss, they thread the floss through their teeth and then pull back and forth like a saw. Ouch. This flossing technique is harmful as it can abrade the tooth. Instead, floss from the top of the tooth near the gum line and floss down.
  2. Don’t re-use the same floss – as you go along each tooth, be sure to change the part of the floss you’re using. As with each tooth you floss, that part of the floss becomes covered in plaque and reusing it will only add to the bacteria that is already there.
  3. Don’t floss aggressively, be gentle – If bleeding gums are a daily encounter, be careful not to floss too aggressively, as this could lead to cut or inflamed gums. Practice a healthy, gentle flossing routine and keep an eye on gum sensitivity.
  4. Floss before bed – while a quick floss in the morning or before a night out helps us feel fresh and functional, flossing before bed is more effective at preventing tooth decay or gum disease. If you don’t, the bacteria you could be flossing out will sit there in your mouth overnight.
  5. Choose the right floss – regular floss is more recommended to use than water picks. While the latter is easier to use, regular floss is by far more effective at banishing bacteria. Moreover, if you have bridges or wide spaces between your teeth, wide floss may prove a wiser purchase!

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