Protect Your Teeth with these Flossing Tips

Dental assistant training students learn the do’s and don’ts of flossing

Since you were young, you have probably known that flossing is important. But do you really take it seriously? Do you floss every day? Do you floss carefully and correctly? The students in the Dental Assistant training program at the American College for Medical Careers learn about dental hygiene, including the importance of flossing. When they become dental assistants, they will be in the position to help patients learn proper flossing and turn it into a daily habit.

Here are the details on the most effective ways to make flossing a part of your daily dental hygiene routine. They are adapted from the American Dental Association’s Mouth Healthy website.

Tip One: Use about 18 inches of floss
Pull out a piece of dental floss until it is about 18 inches long. Wrap most of it around your middle finger. With the remaining part of the floss, hold a small section tightly between your thumb and forefingers. As you floss your teeth, work the used part of the floss onto your other middle finger. This ensures that you are using clean floss as you move from tooth to tooth.

Tip Two: Work in a tooth-by-tooth pattern
Start in one quadrant of your mouth, and work your way around your mouth, being sure not to skip any teeth. This includes the edges of your very back teeth.

Tip Three: Be gentle
You can hurt your gums by snapping the floss down too hard. Guide it gently between your teeth so that it doesn’t snap.

Tip Four: “Hug” each tooth
As you floss, you should hold the floss in a “C” shape, and allow it to hug the side of each tooth. Make sure you hold it tightly against the side of the tooth, and floss up away from the gum, rubbing with gentle up and down movements. Then do the same for the facing tooth. By reaching every surface of the tooth, you can more effectively remove plaque.

To see proper flossing in action, try the flossing video and illustrated diagrams on the ADA’s flossing webpage.

There, that wasn’t so difficult was it? Most people agree that the hardest part of flossing is remembering to do it every day. What can you do to make flossing a regular part of your everyday routine? Here are some suggestions from the ADA to help you adopt this healthy habit:

  • Find a floss you like. There are many different kinds of floss. You may need to experiment until you find the kind that you like the most. Having a floss that works well for your teeth will make the process less frustrating.
  • Make flossing part of your tooth brushing routine so that you don’t forget. Aim to floss at least once a day either before or after brushing. If you keep your floss right next to your toothpaste, you shouldn’t forget!
  • If flossing makes your gums bleed, don’t give up! If you keep up a gentle flossing routine every day, your gums should get healthier and stop bleeding. This may take a few weeks, but it’s worth it.
  • If you can’t get the hang of flossing, ask your dentist about other tools that can help your teeth. Your dentist may suggest dental picks, plaque removers, or pre-threaded flossers.

This article was provided by the American College for Medical Careers, which offers a program called Dental Assistant Training with Expanded Functions. We are proud of our dental assistant students, and wish them the best as they enter the work force!

For more information about enrolling in our program at our Orlando, Florida campus, contact us through our simple online form. Your future career path could be waiting for you!