February 3, 2010

How to Floss

Using dental floss is the best way to remove plaque, which causes tooth decay. Plaque is a film that forms on teeth and can break down the enamel. It stays between teeth and at the gum line even after you brush. Floss helps you to get rid of plaque in those parts of your mouth.

Healthy eating habits and brushing your teeth two times a day help keep teeth well. Proper flossing, too, helps you keep your teeth healthy and prevent gum disease and cavities from forming.

  • Start with about 18 inches of dental floss, wrap one end around your middle finger and some around the other middle finger
  • Gently insert the floss between your teeth and rub it along the length of the tooth
  • At the gum line, gently guide the floss to the space between your tooth and gum while you hold the floss against the tooth
  • Move the floss up and down away from the gum line
  • Don’t skip the back side of the teeth at the back of your mouth

Other devices, such as small brushes, toothpicks or floss holders, can help you remove plaque. Your dentist can show you the best way to use them so you don’t damage the gum tissue.

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