Form A Habit Of Flossing To Prevent Many Problems

Posted on Apr 02, 2015 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

As a Periodontist, I’ve heard every reason in the book why people don’t floss. And, for every reason, there is an even better one to make daily flossing a priority!

Flossing removes food particles that become wedged between teeth. It also helps remove the sticky buildup of bacteria that forms plaque. Keeping oral bacteria at a minimum helps to prevent bad breath, cavities, gingivitis and gum disease.

Everyone can floss easily with some basic pointers and a little practice. For easy flossing instructions, read up on these tips:

  • Use about 18 inches of floss. Nylon floss (waxed or unwaxed) is inexpensive but can shred between teeth with tight contact points. If this occurs, try the single filament floss (although¬†higher-priced), which slides easily between teeth and is shred-resistant.
  • Use a mirror with good lighting so you can see the inside of your mouth.
  • Wind the floss around the middle fingers of each hand with a couple of inches hanging loose to work with.
  • Stretch the floss between your thumbs and index fingers and slide it in-between your teeth, curving the floss around the base of each tooth and beneath the gumline. Avoid popping the floss down between the teeth. This can tear tender gum tissue. Remove the floss using the same back-and-forth motion, moving it up and away from the teeth.
  • About every 3-4 teeth, loosen the floss from fingers and retighten to use clean sections. This will also keep your fingers from becoming uncomfortable.

Do this every night for one week. After seven nights, flossing should be easy enough to do in about half the time it took on the first night. You may also find you no longer need the mirror!

Our Hygienists are terrific instructors. Their goal is to help you avoid problems in the first place. Flossing is definitely an effective means of doing so.

If your gums are tender or bleed when you brush, you already have the beginning stage of gum disease. Call (910) 254-4555 to arrange an examination as soon as possible. Gum disease only worsens without treatment, which can eventually lead to tooth loss.

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