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How to Use Dental Floss Most Effectively

Dental Floss with Toothpaste and Toothbrush

Do you floss? Many think that dental flossing is simply a waste of time. Though many dentists consider dental flossing to be just as essential as brushing, many people go months, even years without dental flossing. Truly, “not flossing is like washing your hands without getting between the fingers,” as dentists say, which is certainly an unappealing thought! The dental flossing process is really not difficult, it just requires commitment. Follow these steps consistently to floss unpleasant bacteria out from between your teeth.

Choose the Best Type of Dental Floss for You

There are many types of dental floss that you can utilize to clean in between your teeth! Traditional floss is string-like and either waxed (for those with narrow gaps between teeth) or non-waxed. Many waxed varieties are available in different flavors as well, most commonly wintergreen or cinnamon.

For the times when you need to floss on-the-go, another dental flossing tool is available in the form of a small, individual piece of string mounted taut on a hand-held plastic holder. This disposable tool, intended for one time use, fits easily in your palm and can be conveniently carried in a wallet or purse.

A newer supplement to dental flossing is the water irrigation system. This tool actually shoots out quick blasts of water that allow you to spray off plaque buildup and the leftover food particles lodged in between your teeth. This supplement can be connected to your shower wall or placed on your sink. Some dentists, however, recommend traditional flossing in addition to the water irrigation method to ensure all leftover food particles are properly removed.

Pick a Daily Time to Floss and Stick To It

The most dedicated flossers choose to floss after every meal! Most people should at least floss once a day to maintain proper dental hygiene. Many dentists agree that before bed is the most beneficial time to floss, because it protects your teeth from plaque while you are sleeping.

Just Do It!

To begin flossing with traditional dental floss, break off about a foot-length and then wrap the ends around your fingers. Tighten the string between your fingers, and then slowly scrape up and down against the sides of each one of your teeth. Do not forget to floss between the molars farthest back in your mouth! Be sure to floss a little below your gumline as well, but do not be alarmed if you see a little bleeding -- this is normal at first. Your gums also may feel slightly sore afterward. As you establish a daily flossing routine, your gums will get used to the pressure of the floss and any pain or bleeding will stop. If you choose to use a water irrigation system, then be sure to spray every surface in your mouth for maximum dental protection.

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Flossing is truly necessary to keep your teeth healthy for many years to come. If you do not floss, it is very possible that your dentist may find cavities in your teeth in the not-so-distant future -- cavities lead to decay, and too much decay can lead to dentures.

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