As far as dental hygiene goes, flossing is most likely to get put on the back burner. Brushing is commonly thought to get majority of the problem, leaving the floss to the final clean up. However, this could be far from the truth. Flossing consistently everyday can reduce the chance of tooth decay and gingivitis (gum disease).

The surfaces between teeth are not accessible to a brush; therefore, the best way to clean them is to floss. There is no hierarchy of effectiveness among different flossing techniques, such as water flossers, pre-strung flossers, or regular dental floss. The frequency is like brushing and ideally after each meal, though one time a day is the minimum. Regular flossing combined with brushing effectively removes plaque and bleeding of the gums. To learn more about the importance of flossing, visit here.

How to Floss

To start, cut a piece of dental floss (approximately 18-24 in). Wrap both sides of the floss around your middle fingers. Using your index finger and thumb, glide the floss between all your teeth one by one. When flossing, make sure you are not cutting your gums. The goal is to clean the teeth surfaces, not the gums. To accomplish this, press the floss against each side of the tooth (hugging the tooth) and gently move it back and forth and up and down. Then move to the opposite surface of the adjacent tooth. (For an excellent picture by picture process visit the ADA website)

Are you constantly cleaning between certain teeth after every meal because of a food trap? Don’t ignore chronic food traps! Besides being annoying, regular food traps are a major risk factor for decay between teeth as well as irreversible bone loss. If you have any food traps, please consult with your dentist about possible options to fix it, some of which are fairly easy.