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November 14 2010

Flossing is always good

According to most Plano dentists, flossing is one of the most important steps in daily oral hygiene measures, along with brushing the teeth. Even the most attentive brushing technique can only remove 60 percent of the plaque in the mouth. The interdental areas between the teeth are not accessible to normal brushes, including powered ones.

The main reason most people don’t floss regularly is because it can be difficult to pass the floss in the tight spaces between the teeth. Proper technique can help reduce damage to the gums and prevent tearing and shredding of the floss and help achieve proper hygiene. 

The Proper Technique

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Use about 2’ of Teflon floss, and wrap one end around your ring finger. The remaining length of floss should be wound around the ring finger of the other hand to serve as a spool of clean floss.  

The first finger of your non-dominant hand should be used to brace the floss against the tooth. The floss is passed through the space between teeth. A sliding motion helps introduce the floss beneath the space without any uncontrolled motion, which helps prevent damage to the gums.

Once between the teeth, the floss should be gently slid across the tops of the teeth, as far as the gum line will allow, in order to scrape the teeth clean of any soft plaque that might be forming. Do the same for the adjacent tooth while your floss is in position. Care should be taken to pass the floss over the gum tissue in between the teeth while changing surfaces.

Continue in this manner, spooling out clean sections of floss for each tooth. When finished, you can simply pull the remaining floss through the teeth and throw it away. It is that simple. 

With enough practice, the entire mouth can be flossed in less than 3 minutes. Bleeding from the gums can occur even with proper flossing technique. Readers should note that bleeding is a sign of inflammation of the gums, and not the result of damage caused by flossing or brushing. The purpose of flossing is not to remove pieces of food stuck in between teeth, but rather, to remove plaque from adhering to tooth surfaces. Ask your Allen, TX dentist or Houston periodontist for more tips regarding flossing.