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Flossing: Learn How to Floss Like a Rock Star

Flossing - Floss every day for maximum oral hygiene.

Most everyone knows that brushing your teeth at least twice a day is essential for good oral hygiene. This is gospel in the canon of daily dental care. What many people fail to realize is that brushing alone is not enough to fight the harmful bacteria responsible for dental plaque and tooth decay. This requires flossing. To have a truly healthy mouth -- one with enhanced resistance to furry tongue (a thick and cheesy-looking yeast outbreak) chronic halitosis (bad breath) and cavities -- you need to floss daily. Most periodontists would argue that dental floss is the most important weapon you have in the battle against gum diseases like gingivitis.

How important is floss? A New York University College of Dentistry study of twins with limited access to dental care and fluoridated water concluded that flossing dramatically improves oral health. The researchers found that just two weeks of daily flossing significantly decreased the presence of microbial species associated with periodontal gum disease. Symptoms like bleeding gums were reduced by 38 percent among the group of twins who were required to floss daily. Impressed? You should be. Dental floss is powerful stuff.

Flossing Does What Brushing Can’t

Flossing is important because it removes food particles and plaque from those places your toothbrush can't reach. According to WorlDental, failing to floss daily means that up to 35 percent of your tooth surface -- primarily at the gumline and between teeth -- remains uncleaned. This creates a perfect environment for plaque to calcify (harden) and become dental tartar. The transformation is surprisingly fast. The website Animated-Teeth.com reports it can take place in as little as 24 hours. Once tartar forms, it can't be removed by brushing or flossing.

Flossing Isn’t Brain Surgery

Dental plaque has been linked to heart disease, stroke and diabetes; so, it's easy to see that making a commitment to floss daily can help improve one's overall health. Though flossing isn't difficult -- tens of millions do it every day without fail -- a surprisingly large number of people floss incorrectly. Proper flossing technique is critical to getting the maximum health benefit from dental floss. There's a lot more to it than just slipping floss between your teeth willy-nilly.

Learn How to Floss in Six Easy Steps

Effective flossing cleans your teeth by literally scrubbing away the dental plaque that's forming on their surface. This requires placing dental floss between your teeth and then drawing it against the side of each individual tooth. It's important to scrub as much of the surface as possible down to and below the gum line.  

By following these simple step-by-step guidelines, you'll learn how to floss like a rock star.

  1. Take approximately 18 inches of dental floss and start evenly winding it on your middle fingers until there's about an inch or two of floss to work with.
  2. Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and index fingers.
  3. Slide the floss gently up and down between your teeth.
  4. Curve the floss around the base of each tooth down to and below the gumline.
  5. Use a clean section of floss for each tooth.
  6. Remove the dental floss using a gentle back-and-forth motion to bring the floss up and away from your teeth.

Remember, the key to effective flossing is to be gentle. Don't snap or force floss, as this can irritate delicate gum tissue.

A Few Tips for Maximum Flossing

Floss daily. Once a day is all the flossing most people need. Don't skip a day because that's all the time plaque needs to start calcifying.

Make flossing a habit. Once flossing becomes part of your daily grooming ritual, it's a habit that's hard to break. Set a schedule and stick to it. Most people find that either first thing in the morning or just before bed are great times to floss.

Use plenty of floss. Dental floss is cheap compared to the cost of periodontal care. Use as much floss as you need to clean both sides of every tooth with a new section. It's important not to spread contamination by moving bacteria from one tooth to another by reusing a piece of dental floss.

Pick the right floss. Dental floss is available in a variety of styles (e.g., waxed, unwaxed, shred-resistant, ribbon, thread, etc.). Feel free to try several types before settling on one. The best dental floss is the kind you'll use every day.

Make Time to Floss Daily

People who floss daily usually end up spending a lot less time in a dentist's chair. Dental cleanings get easier. Sore gums become a thing of the past. Bad breath fades away. Seriously, a little dental floss goes a long way. If you're not doing so already, aren't you ready to give flossing a try? 

To find a local dentist who can show you how to floss correctly search now or call 1-866-970-0441.

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