The single most beneficial thing you can do to improve your dental health is to learn to floss properly and do it at least once every day! Flossing in between your teeth is essential for avoiding periodontal disease as well as preventing tooth decay.
Periodontal disease is one of the main causes of tooth loss in adults and can be easily prevented by flossing.
Tooth decay is caused by plaque, which is the sticky substance that forms on and in between the teeth. If the plaque isn’t removed, it combines with the sugars and / or starches in food, and produces an acid that attacks tooth enamel. Brushing removes plaque from the surfaces of the teeth, but only flossing can remove plaque that accumulates in between the teeth.
Steps for properly flossing your teeth:
- Before brushing your teeth, measure an arms length of floss, approximately 18 inches, and wind each end around your middle fingers. Grasp 1 to 2 inches of the floss with your index (pointer) finger and thumb.
- Gently glide the floss in between the teeth in a sawing motion. Use care not to snap the floss between the teeth.
- Angle the floss so it hugs the tooth in a “c” shape. Gently slide the floss up and down the surface of the tooth, making sure it goes slightly below the gumline. When complete, angle the floss to hug the tooth in the opposite direction, and repeat this step.
- Continue flossing all of the upper and lower teeth. Try working in a clockwise direction, beginning with your upper molars on your left side and then ending with your lower molars on your left side. As you move on to each set teeth, unwind the floss from your fingers, and rewind it so there is a clean section of floss to use.