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About Us < Dental Services < Cleaning < The Proper Flossing Technique
  Dr Minh Nguyen
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Plaque and calculus buildup below the gum line
Plaque & calculus buildup
How to hold the dental floss
Holding a dental floss
How to floss the tooth properly
Flossing a tooth
Flossing tooth model
Model of flossing a tooth

The Proper Flossing Technique

Most cavities and periodontal disease begin between the teeth. While brushing is important, the bristles of your brush simply can't reach between the teeth.

To keep your gums and teeth healthy, you must remove the plaque between your teeth at least once a day. That's why our Houston dentist recommends dental floss.

Don't worry about the type of floss; they all work pretty much the same.

Wind about 18 inches of floss around the middle fingers of each hand, leaving about 5 inches between your hands. Pinch the floss between your thumbs and index fingers and leave about one inch in between to work with. Gently guide the floss down between the teeth, using a side-to-side motion.

If your teeth are too tight to floss, or if the floss catches or tears, let our Houston dentist know about it. These are problems that need to be fixed.

Pull the floss tightly into a C shape around the side of the tooth and slide it under the gum line. Clean the surface of the tooth by using an up-and-down motion, not side-to-side, until the surface is clean.

When all the plaque has been removed, the floss will squeak as it rubs against your teeth. Pull the floss around the next tooth and repeat the process. Wind the floss to a fresh section and gradually work your way around your mouth, cleaning both sides of every tooth.

If you have problems reaching some areas, you might want to use a floss fork. If your gums are infected, they'll bleed when you floss. That's to be expected if you are just beginning to floss. After a week or so of regular flossing the bleeding should go away.

Now you know why brushing your teeth is only half the battle. Most cavities and periodontal disease start between the teeth where your toothbrush just can't reach.

You may also be interested in:

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Toothbrush Abrasion

Grinding Your Teeth (Bruxism)
Gum Disease and Heart Attacks: Is There a Connection?
Think smokeless tobacco is safer than cigarettes? Think again
Sleep Apnea—It's More Than Just Snoring
Tongue Piercing Causes Serious Health Problems
Brushing Your Teeth
Importance of Regular Exams
Plaque Disclosing Tablets
Homecare for periodontal disease
Dental superfloss
Preventive dental sealants
What is a dental hygienist?
Nutrition and Your Health
Dental Ultrasonic Scaling

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