smiling woman holding length of dental floss

You get admonished from your dentist every time you see them to make sure you floss your teeth. You try to make it a habit, but it’s really hard to get it to stick. Why is it so important to floss your teeth, anyway? Your family dentist in Fort Collins is here to tell you all about it, and give some flossing tricks and tips to help out, too.


It might feel like you’re getting your teeth really clean when you’re brushing them…and if you’re brushing properly, you are! The problem is that the brush is fairly flat, and your teeth are made up of a ton of tiny curves, especially where they touch each other. There’s no way a flat brush, no matter how carefully used, can get to the tiniest little cracks and crevices in between your teeth and at your gum line. And of course, because your brush can’t get there, bacteria love to hang out there and become more bacteria, and then ultimately plaque. If you give them the chance to, they’ll stay there as long as they can, becoming bigger and stronger and threatening the safety of your teeth. 

It’s also tempting to think of the oral system as something almost separate from the rest of the body. After all, you go to different medical practitioners to fix your teeth and to fix your bones, right? But the whole body is part of one big system and each part influences all of the other parts. If you have a stomachache, you’re probably not going to want to go and play even though there is nothing wrong with your legs. When you feel yucky inside, it affects more than just that part of you. It affects all of you. 


Your mouth, and the bacteria living in it, affect the rest of you, too. Poor dental hygiene can lead to a number of concerns elsewhere. The mouth is very close to the sinuses and the brain, ears, and the throat. If something is hurting your mouth, it’s possible that it could start affecting those areas, too, or other places around your body. That’s why it is so important to keep your oral health in tip-top shape — and that means that daily flossing is super important.


You can floss either when you go to bed at night, or when you get up in the morning. The American Dental Association’s recommendations are just for once a day, and it makes sense to do it when you brush your teeth. Flossing your teeth is one of those things that once it becomes a habit, you’ll be so used to it you’ll feel like something is missing if you forget one day or run out of floss. 


According to the American Dental Association’s recommendations on proper flossing technique, you should:


  • Use about 18 inches of floss wound between your two middle fingers
  • Use the forefingers to push the floss between the teeth and curve a “C” shape around each tooth side while moving back and forth to remove any debris
  • Rub the floss up and down from the gumline to the top of each tooth as well while in the “C” configuration
  • Floss all of your teeth, and don’t forget behind your back teeth!


You may also choose to utilize a different type of interdental device, such as a water flosser or dental tape instead of floss. 


Flossing seems like a waste of time, but it helps keep your smile bright and your teeth nice and clean. As a family dentist we know in the Fort Collins area likes to say, “Floss only the teeth you want to keep.”


Contact your family dentist in Fort Collins if you have any questions or to schedule an appointment. We look forward to seeing your smile!