A toothbrush removes plaque and debris from the surface of your teeth, but only floss can penetrate those hard to reach areas between your teeth and gums. Why is it then that so many of us skip this important step during our daily dental regimen?
Flossing is an essential part of the tooth-cleaning process because it removes plaque from between teeth and along the gumline, where periodontal disease often begins. Plaque irritates the gums, and when not removed from in between the teeth with dental floss, the gums may start to pull away from the teeth. With continuous plaque build-up, bacteria can form causing the bone that supports the teeth to deteriorate.
Many people avoid flossing because it results in bleeding of the gums. What most people don’t know, however, is that it’s actually normal for gums to bleed. In fact, it means you should floss more often! Get in the habit of flossing regularly. The bleeding will typically stop as your gums become healthier.
Flossing Tipsfrom the American Dental Association:
- 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.
Ask your San Jose dentist about tips for flossing at your next cleaning. A simple, tutorial can help you keep your teeth looking and feeling great.
Flossing is an easy and essential step to keeping your teeth healthy for a lifetime. Next time you brush, remember to take those few extra minutes to floss while you’re at it. Your smile and gums will be glad you did.