June 5, 2012

Proper Flossing

Flossing daily removes plaque and food particles from between the teeth and below the gumline. A toothbrush only cleans approximately 20% of the tooth and gum surfaces. The remaining 80% of tooth and gum surfaces is between the teeth. That’s why flossing daily is so important to protect you from tooth decay and gum disease. Once a day flossing at night before you go to sleep is the best time to floss.

It’s best to use unwaxed dental floss so that when the floss is pressed against the tooth surface the fibers of the floss spread out. This fanning out of the floss produces a greater surface area of floss to do the job of removing the plaque. Sometimes when people have teeth that are very close to each other, it is difficult to get the floss between the teeth. If this sounds like you, you will need to use waxed dental floss. The wax helps the floss slide between the teeth.

Wrap an 18-inch strand of floss around your middle fingers and hold a one-inch section tightly. After you wrap the floss around your middle fingers, take your thumb and pointer finger and hold them as if you were pointing two guns away from you. Then take the fingers that are pretending to be the guns and put them down on the floss so that one inch is between your thumbs and pointer fingers. Holding the floss this way lets you be able to control the floss and be able to reach all the way to floss your back teeth.

Ease the floss between two teeth. Clean up and down several times while curving the floss around the teeth and going under the gumline. Don’t scrub. Just wrap the floss around the tooth and go up and down. Unwind the floss to put clean floss between your fingers that are holding the floss. A special tool called a floss threader is needed to floss between the teeth of a fixed bridge and under the fake teeth.

You may experience sore or bleeding gums for the first several days you floss, but the bleeding will stop because you are flossing. Remember that healthy gums don’t bleed.

For information about other dental topics visit DrTav.com

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