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Tips for Effective Flossing

Flossing is part of a healthy oral hygiene routine and, if done on a regular basis, can help prevent a host of dental health problems like plaque buildup, cavities, gum disease, bone loss and bad breath.

Unfortunately, most of us don’t floss enough. Why is that? Part of the reason could be the fact that we’ve never been taught the proper way to floss, therefore we see flossing as a more daunting task than it truly is.

The following tips won’t change the world, but at least if you know the proper technique, perhaps you’ll make flossing a lifelong habit that could save your teeth.

 

So here we go!

  • Dentists recommended that you use about 18 inches of floss. That’s approximately the distance from the end of your bent elbow to the tip of your fingers for most people. So that should help you get the recommended length of floss without having to look for a ruler.
  • After you’ve measured out your floss, wrap most around the middle finger of one hand, the rest around your other middle finger. Grasp the string tightly between your thumb and forefinger. Use a rubbing motion to guide it between teeth. It may take a bit of time to get the hang of, so don’t get frustrated if you don’t master it the first or second time or even a third time. Just don’t give up! Practice makes perfect! And your teeth will thank you.
  • When the floss reaches the gum line, form a “C” to follow the shape of the tooth.
  • Hold the strand firmly against the tooth and move it gently up and down.
  • Repeat with the adjacent tooth, then with the rest of your teeth. Use fresh sections of floss as you go. It’s really an easy process once you make it a habit. 

Here’s a short animated video from our friends at Colgate showing us the proper way to floss:

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