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We have made many advances in oral care, and one of the biggest is using dental floss to clean in between your teeth. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends flossing at least once each day. Flossing does what your toothbrush can’t; it removes bits of food particles and plaque that stick to teeth. Although your toothbrush is adept at cleaning debris from your pearly whites, it is not able to reach those in-between spaces between the teeth which are prone to tooth decay if not cleaned carefully.

The key to proper flossing is being thorough. When you floss is not important, you can floss before or after brushing, before bed or any other time of day which works best for you. Just make sure you spend enough time to be thorough in your cleaning.

When choosing a floss that works best for you, look for the ADA Seal of approval on the product packaging. This ensures that the product is both safe and effective. Nylon multifilament floss comes waxed or unwaxed, although it sometimes shreds during use. Single filament (monofilament) floss does not tear while using but is slightly more expensive. Both do the job well.

Now that you have chosen your floss, it is time to perfect your technique. First, pull around 18 inches of the floss from the dispenser. Wrap the floss around each of your middle fingers, with about an inch or so that you will be cleaning with.

Keep the floss taut between your thumbs and your index fingers and gently slide it between your teeth in an up and down movement. Next, make a U-shape around the bottom of each tooth, cleaning below the gum line as well. Move gently so as not to harm the gum tissue, moving back and forth and up and down against the side of each tooth. Then, be sure to use clean sections of the floss string when you move on from each tooth. Rinse with water or mouthwash when you are done.

Take the time to floss daily, and take the time to be thorough. Your teeth and gums will thank you with a healthy mouth! Please call Dr. Jacqueline Reid’s team at 973.635.9456 if you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment.