The most significant impediment to flossing has typically been the floss. It breaks, shreds, and gets stuck. Glide is the only floss I recommend (Glide, Glider Threader Floss for bridges and braces, Glider Floss Picks [below]).
Three Impediments to Flossing
- Which floss: the easiest floss is Glide.
- How you hold it: middle fingers.
- When you floss: most people try to at bedtime. It’s often easier to get done every day when done in the morning.
How often to floss? We all heard to floss once a day, but the bacteria are growing between teeth just like those areas you brush – would you brush only once a day? Ideally, flossing is most effective when done at the same frequency as brushing. So, if you brush, floss too! At the very minimum, floss the lower front teeth every brushing (this is where tartar typically forms most).
- Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around one of your middle fingers.
- Wind the remaining floss around the same finger of the opposite hand. This finger will take up the floss as it collects plaque or shreds.
- Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers. Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle back and forth rubbing motion. Never snap the floss into the gums.
- When the floss reaches the gumline, curve it into a C shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth.
- Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Gently move the floss away from the gum with up and down motions to clean above and below the gumline.
- Repeat this method on the rest of your teeth. Don’t forget the back side of your last tooth.
- People who have difficulty handling dental floss may prefer to use aids that include floss holders, special brushes, picks or sticks. Additionally, a Waterpik can be very helpful. It does not replace flossing, but it is much better than not flossing. For many people, both flossing and a Waterpik are indicated.
- GLIDE THREADER, floss threaders for under bridges, splints, and/or braces.
If adults had picked up the flossing habit in childhood, perhaps more people would be following their dentists’ and hygienists’ recommendation. These flossers are designed to encourage kids to develop early flossing habits (these are great for adults too).
You don’t need to use a new one each time. That’s like using your toothbrush once and discarding it. Just rinse and reuse, until it frays or shreds. Though disposable, the product is very thin to minimize the amount of plastic used – be sure to throw it in the recycle bin.
In addition to making flossing easier for children 6 and up, Glide Floss Picks make flossing easier to do for younger children. Kids teeth and gums benefit from flossing just as much as adults.
Cheaper imitations exist (cheap floss that shreds and breaks easily), and are not nearly as easy to use. As with most tools, when they are more difficult to use, they go unused.