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How to Floss the Right Way, and Why It’s So Important

Flossing helps prevent three oral health issues including plaque buildup, gum inflammation, and tooth decay. Cleaning between teeth removes food debris that contribute to plaque buildup, and removes plaque from areas your toothbrush cannot reach.

See a Little Rock dentist with payment plans, for a budget-friendly way to maintain your oral health, and for more flossing tips.

When Should You Floss?

The ADA recommends brushing for two minutes twice each day, and cleaning between teeth once per day, either before or after brushing. It doesn’t matter when you floss, the most important thing is to do it at some point every day.

How Should You Floss?

Whichever interdental cleaning tool you choose to use, you should read instructions and work with your dentist to ensure that you are using the correct technique for best results. To use the most common tool, dental floss, follow these simple instructions:

  1. For each tooth, hold the floss firmly, and gently rub it between two teeth. Never snap the floss into the gums.
  2. At the gum line of the tooth, bend the floss around one tooth. Gently slide it downward between the tooth and gum.
  3. Holding the floss firmly against the tooth, gently rub the side of the tooth up and down.

Water Flossing

A water flosser sprays jets of pulsing water to clean between teeth. Water flossers are a good alternative for people with difficulties flossing by hand, or with braces, permanent or fixed bridges, or other dental work that complicates flossing by hand.

What Are the Risks of Not Flossing?

Interdental cleaning is essential for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Much plaque can be left unremoved by brushing. Without flossing, the plaque hardens into tartar, which builds up along the gum line and can cause gum disease. Tartar must be removed by a dentist, so it is important to take this preventative action.

Who Should Floss?

Adults and children should clean between their teeth. As soon as your child develops two teeth that touch, begin an interdental cleaning routine. Small children do not usually have the manual coordination to do a thorough job flossing on their own. So, parents should floss for children under the age of 10.

For more information about other oral hygiene practices, or to make an appointment to see a Little Rock dentist, contact Arkansas Family Dental at (501) 683-8886 to speak to one of our helpful staff members.

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Samaria Mascagni

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