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Importance of flossing and proper flossing techniques

Brushing your teeth twice a day is a great start for keeping your mouth healthy, but it’s simply not enough on its own. Flossing daily is an essential step that should never be skipped if you want to maintain good oral hygiene and prevent gum disease and cavities.

While brushing does an excellent job of cleaning the surfaces of your teeth, it cannot reach the tight spaces in between teeth and under the gumline where plaque and food debris can accumulate. This is why flossing is so crucial - it dislodges plaque and particles from areas that brushing alone cannot access.

If plaque is allowed to build up over time, it can harden into tartar and lead to gingivitis (gum inflammation and bleeding). Untreated gingivitis can progress into the more serious periodontal disease, which affects the bones and tissues supporting the teeth. Failure to floss regularly puts you at much higher risk for these painful and costly gum infections. Proper Flossing Technique

To get the maximum benefits from flossing, it’s important to use the proper technique:

1 ) Take about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around the middle finger of one hand, and the rest around the middle finger of the other hand. This gives you a couple inches of taut floss to work with.

2 ) Gently guide the floss between two teeth using a zigzag rubbing motion. Don’t snap the floss straight up or down as this can damage delicate gum tissue.

3 ) Once the floss reaches the gumline, curve it into a C-shape against one tooth and gently move it up and down against the side of that tooth.

4 ) Repeat this motion on the adjacent tooth, ensuring you clean both sides of the pocket between the teeth.

5 ) Use clean sections of floss as you move from tooth to tooth, re-flossing with soiled sections spreads plaque around.

Be sure to floss behind your back teeth as well - these areas tend to have more buildup. Go slowly and take the time to do a thorough job. It may cause slight bleeding at first if you haven’t flossed in a while, but this should improve with regular flossing.

Developing the Flossing Habit

Flossing takes a little extra time and effort beyond brushing alone, but it’s one of the best things you can do to prevent costly dental problems down the road. Set a goal of flossing once daily, either in the morning or evening. Keep floss containers easily accessible as a reminder. Establishing flossing as a habit, just like brushing, is essential for keeping your teeth and gums in tip-top shape.

Don’t let failure to floss be the weak link in your oral care routine. Along with brushing, it’s one of the most important steps you can take to keep your brilliant smile healthy for life. Ask us dentist or hygienist for a refresher on proper technique at your next visit.