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Everyone knows that it is important to floss at least once a day, but only a couple know the right way to do it. Guide to properly floss your teeth:

Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around one of your middle fingers. Wind the remaining floss around the same finger of the opposite hand. This finger will take up the floss as it becomes dirty.

Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers.

Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion. Never snap the floss into the gums.

When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth.

Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum with up and down motions. Repeat this method on the rest of your teeth. Don’t forget the back side of your last tooth.

ADA recommends that using floss daily is vital to maintain good oral health. Cleaning in between teeth removes plaque (a sticky film which contain bacteria) and prevents cavities and gum infections. Plaque that is not removed regularly in between teeth can eventually harden into a rough substance called tartar or calculus. Calculus can only be removed by getting as a professional cleaning. Accumulation of calculus around and below gum line will trigger periodontal disease or gum disease.

Water flossers or commonly known as water pik can also aid in clean between teeth and is a good alternative to regular flossing. Patients having trouble flossing by hand due to limited dexterity or because of braces or bridges in their mouth can opt for water flossers.

Recommendation about flossing:

  1. It is important to floss every day and it doesn’t matter when. It can be done early in the morning after lunch or before bed.
  2. Children also need to floss. The earlier they start the better they get, around 10-11 years is when they can do a thorough job.
  3. Mild to moderate discomfort when flossing is common in the beginning and should ease within a week or two. If your pain persists, talk to your dentist.