Brushing and flossing your teeth combined with regular dental assessments are your best weapons for fighting plaque and gum disease. Contrary to popular belief, brushing alone will not prevent tooth decay; so without flossing, you're leaving as much as half of the plaque on your teeth behind. That's why it's imperative to floss at least once a day - and properly! Here's how:

How you hold dental floss matters

Start the process by breaking off 18” of dental floss from your dispenser. Wrap each end of the floss around your middle finger on both hands. This should produce a tight stretch of floss once you pinch it between your thumb and middle finger. This piece is going to be worked between your teeth to clean away left behind food debris and plaque.

Use the right motion

Flossing involves focusing on one specific location at a time. The idea is to floss between the gaps of every individual tooth by pushing the dental floss down the contact point where the two teeth touch. If this area is tight, just apply a back and forth saw-like motion to pass beyond the tight contact. Run the floss along the surface of one tooth and then do the same for the other tooth before withdrawing up past the contact point.

Apply the right pressure

Your goal is to floss the gaps between your teeth. Therefore, it’s important to avoid flossing down on your gums. You should be flossing against the tooth surface only without applying too much force, otherwise you may traumatise your gums. If a small cleft appears on gum tissue between your teeth, it’s a tell-tale sign that you’re flossing incorrectly.

Change your floss

As you floss each location, you’re going to notice that your floss is deteriorating. It will become soiled with plaque and food, and the ends will begin to fray. If this happens, don’t be afraid to start off with a new 18” strip of floss. Otherwise, like an old toothbrush, your flossing won’t be as effective when you use worn out floss.

Rinse away nasties

It’s a great idea to rinse your mouth out with mouthwash after you complete your flossing. Although flossing will dislodge a lot of food and plaque, there’s still a chance of particles being left behind or partially dislodged between teeth. But rinsing vigorously with a mouthwash is a top way of fully expelling these particles out of your mouth.

Flossing is clearly an essential part of preventing gum disease. That’s why you should make it part of your daily dental routine to clean the teeth you want to keep!

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