How to Properly Floss Your Teeth

According to the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia, 47.2 percent of adults in the United States over 30 years old have some form of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a leading cause of gum decay and tooth loss, and is often irreversible once it gets to its advanced stages. The best way to avoid getting periodontal disease is to keep your teeth healthy and clean, and properly flossing your teeth after brushing is one of the best ways to keep plaque and bacteria from building up between and around your teeth that can lead to periodontal disease. Here is how should floss your teeth on a daily basis.

Dental Floss Basics

The best type of floss to use for those who have teeth that are close together is wax-covered floss, but for those who have teeth with gaps, a thicker tape floss is typically best to use. Also, single-filament floss tends to hold up better than multi-filament floss (which tends to break apart while you use it). Remove a string of floss about 18 inches long from the container. Wrap the ends of the floss around your index fingers and hold it in place with your thumbs. Place the floss around the side of a tooth so it forms a U-shape. You will run the floss up and down on both sides and the back of your teeth until you have cleaned each tooth. The back of your teeth will take a little more practice than doing the sides of your teeth before you do it right, but in time you’ll become an expert at it.

Be Gentle

Your gums are made out of soft tissue and can be easily damaged if you floss too hard. You don’t want to force the floss down between your gums until it slices through the tissue and cause your gums to start bleeding – damaged gums can also allow bacteria to enter the soft tissue and cause an infection that could damage your gums even more than overzealous flossing.  You do want to get the floss down between the gums and your tooth, but you want to gently nudge the floss along the gums until you meet resistance. Once you meet resistance, you’ll gently pull the floss up to the top of the tooth.

If you think you are holding or using the floss wrong, talk to your dentist, one like Northland Village Dental Centre, so they, or their assistant, can show you how to properly hold and use dental floss.

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