Most people think that if they brush their teeth twice a day and floss once, they’re doing an excellent job of taking care of their oral health. But what if you’re doing more harm than good with your flossing technique?
Here are ten signs you might be one of them — and how to correct them.
1. You’re Not Flossing at All
It might seem surprising when you already have dental floss in your hands, but sometimes people simply don’t bother with it.
If you’re only brushing your teeth twice a day, then add the floss to your routine and see what a difference it can make.
2. You’re Not Picking the Right Floss
You might think any old floss will do for your teeth, but that’s not the case. There are several kinds of floss available in stores, and each type is best for a certain job:
Firm: For people with larger spaces between their teeth
Waxed: For those who have trouble getting the floss tightly under their gum line
Unwaxed: For those whose gums recede far from the teeth and need more flexibility to go underneath them
Flavored: For those who have a hard time tolerating any sort of taste in their mouth after they’ve eaten or drank something
3. You’re Not Leaving Enough Space Between Your Teeth
It’s not enough to just slide the floss between your teeth. It would be best if you wind it underneath them as well so that there is a space above and below where you have threaded it through.
This will allow you to get more of the debris and bacteria surrounding your teeth before removing the floss.
4. You’re Making the Wrong Kind of “S” Shape
When bringing your floss down to clean between two teeth, make sure it’s not a straight line — you need to form an “S” shape.
This will allow the floss to go under and around each tooth and pry them apart so it can dislodge any residue that could potentially cause decay or infection.
5. You’re Using Too Much Pressure
Using too much force when brushing your teeth can have the opposite effect of what you want it to do. It can actually cause damage to your gums and even your enamel since you’re pressing down with all that force.
That same pressure should not be used while flossing either — instead, try to keep your hand and arm steady while letting the floss slide through your fingers.
If you are experiencing gum problems or discomfort, you can check with a dentist or hygienist for further advice.
6. You’re Not Flossing in Sections
According to experts, you need to make sure you don’t miss any spots when flossing, so break it up into sections and work your way around your mouth in a top-to-bottom motion.
This will help you cover all of your teeth in equal parts. Just be sure not to rush through this step! It takes time, but it’s worth it at the end when you’ve gotten rid of germs that were hiding everywhere.
7. You’re Not Rotating Between Different Teeth
When flossing between two teeth, don’t just go from one side and then the other. Flip your floss around like a spitball and use that side to clean in between each one, then move it to the other side for the next teeth. This way, you’ll get all angles of each tooth, not just two!
8. You’re Not Flossing Twice a Day
It might take a while at first, but if you can make this an everyday thing (not just when you feel like it), then over time, your gums will be healthier, and so will you!
Try to floss before going to bed or after a meal if possible, since most food particles have already settled by this point.
9. You’re Using Dirty Floss
If your floss looks like it’s seen better days, then you should probably replace it! Dirty floss is less effective than clean floss when it comes to getting your teeth nice and healthy.
10. You’re Not Spending Long Enough Flossing
While there’s no one answer as to how long you should spend flossing each time, the ADA recommends more than 2 minutes, at least twice a day — that’s 4 minutes of flossing every day (and of course adding on some extra for brushing!)
If you’re not sure where to start, maybe try timing yourself next time — if you can hold a song in your head without the lyrics or two songs with lyrics — you’ve got plenty of time to floss!
Now that you know what not to do try these tips out the next time you go in for a flossing session! You’ll be getting it all right before you know it.