Flossing Your Teeth

Flossing is a way to clean in between your teeth using dental floss.

Floss is usually made from nylon filaments or plastic monofilaments. It may be coated with a flavoring agent such as mint which can make flossing more refreshing.

What Are The Benefits of Dental Flossing?

  • Flossing removes tiny trapped food particles and also plaque that gets trapped between the teeth. While brushing cleans plaque off most tooth surfaces, floss reaches where bristles cannot

  • Flossing prevents Gingivitis. Gingivitis is the buildup of plaque along the gum line which can cause inflammation, soft or tender gums and gums that bleed more easily.

  • Flossing alleviates bad breath which is the common name for a medical condition known as halitosis. Bad breath is caused by odor-producing bacteria that grow in the mouth and accumulate on the bits of food left in the mouth and in between teeth. The bacteria give off gasses which cause the odor.
  • Flossing polishes the tooth surface leaving a brighter smile

Types of Dental Floss

There are several types of floss but all of them remove cavity-causing plaque and food debris from between your teeth. Deciding which type to use is a personal choice.

  • Waxed Floss holds together easily and is used in areas where flossing is difficult due to tight spacing between teeth. This floss is generally softer and glides easily.
  • Unwaxed floss will squeak against cleaned teeth indicating plaque has been removed.
  • Wide floss, also known as dental tape, may be a better choice for people with bridgework.

People who have difficulty handling dental floss may prefer to use another kind of interdental cleaner. These aids include special brushes, picks or sticks. If you use interdental cleaners, ask your dentist how to use them properly to avoid injuring your gums.

Proper Dental Flossing Techniques

  • Wind 18″ of floss around the middle fingers of each hand. Pinch the floss between thumbs and index fingers leaving a 1″- 2″ length in between. Use your thumbs to direct the floss between the upper teeth.
  • Keep a 1” – 2” length of floss taut between your fingers. Use your index finger to guide the floss between your teeth.
  • Gently slide the floss into the space between the gum and the tooth curving the floss around the tooth into a “C” shape.

  • Slide the floss up and down against the tooth surface just under the gum line. Floss each tooth with this slide motion and don’t forget to floss the back of each tooth and your back teeth.

The American Dental Association recommends flossing your teeth at least once a day.

Have you flossed your teeth today?

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