Flossing is the best way to remove germs from between the teeth. Toothbrush bristles cannot reach these small areas. Flossing is an important tool for preventing periodontal disease and limiting the depth of the pockets between the gums and the teeth. Flossing daily helps prevent both tooth decay and periodontal disease. The flavor and type of floss are unimportant; mechanically cleaning the surfaces between your teeth is the important part! Choose any type of dental floss that best suits you.
The most effective flossing method includes the following steps:
- Cut a piece of floss to around 18 inches long.
- Wrap one end of the floss around the middle finger of the left hand and the other end around the middle finger of the right hand until the hands are 2-3 inches apart.
- Work the floss gently between the teeth toward the gum line.
- Curve the floss in a U-shape around each individual tooth and carefully slide it beneath the gum line.
- Carefully move the floss up and down several times to remove plaque and debris from between the teeth.
- Try not to pop the floss in and out between the teeth as this will inflame and cut the gums.
- If you bleed when flossing initially, that’s ok! Stick with it. The bleeding is an indication of gingivitis.The best way to resolve gingivitis is with more flossing. Bleeding will reduce as the gums become healthier when the debris around the teeth is removed by flossing.
If you have any questions about the correct way floss, please ask your dentist or dental hygienist.