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Flossing 101

Klement Family DentalAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Nearly 70 percent of Americans don’t floss daily, even though dentists recommend that they do. Flossing helps remove food particles and plaque from between your teeth. This step is important because when plaque remains between your teeth, it creates an acid that breaks down the outer, protective layer of your teeth and may lead to gum disease, cavities and even tooth loss.

How to floss :

1. Cut a strand of floss 15-18-inches long and wind ends around the middle finger of each hand.

2. Grasp the floss tightly between the thumb and first finger of both hands, and pull it gently between two teeth using a sawing motion. Be careful to stop before you hit your gum.

3. Slide the floss in a C-shape around one side of the tooth.

4. Pull the floss gently up and down while keeping the floss pressed tightly against the tooth.

5. Repeat these steps for each tooth, and include all sides of your back teeth.

Types of dental floss :
Shaped floss – Dental floss comes in several shapes. Floss can be very thin, thick (dental tape), round or flat. Choose floss that is comfortable to use and appropriate for the spaces between your teeth and for any dental work or appliances you may have.

Coated floss – Dental floss can be uncoated, waxed, flavored or treated with fluoride. Coated or uncoated floss is often simply a personal preference or may depend on the size and shape of your teeth and if you have permanent dental work or braces.

Floss holders – If you prefer not to wrap dental floss around your fingers or if you have difficulty reaching between your teeth because of bridges, braces or other dental appliances, dental floss may be used in floss holders or floss threaders. Floss threaders allow you to place the floss in a soft plastic loop and “thread” it between teeth and over or under braces, bridges and permanent retainers.

Other ways to clean between teeth :

Interdental brushes (also known as Proxy Brushes) – These small, round brushed come in several sizes and may be an alternative to dental floss for individuals with larger hands or limited hand dexterity.

Water flossers (also known as Water Piks) – These devices use pulsing water to help remove plaque from between teeth and can be a good option for individuals with limited mobility or dexterity.

No matter which method you use, make flossing a regular part of your daily regime to maintain top dental health.