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Dental Floss: Protect Your Teeth Between Visits to the Dentist

By HERWriter
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Brushing your teeth is important for oral health, but your toothbrush can't do it all. You can scrub all the reachable surfaces of your teeth but some areas are impossible for a toothbrush to get at.

Food gets caught between your teeth. A film of bacteria can harden becoming plaque if you don't remove it. This plaque can become a hard mineral deposit called tartar.

Tartar on your teeth will only be eliminated by a dental professional. If tartar isn't dealt with it can make cleaning between your teeth harder to accomplish.

The tissue of your gums can swell and bleed. This is the early phase of gum disease called gingivitis.

You can improve this picture between dental visits by flossing your teeth. This removes interproximal dental plaque which is plaque that accumulates between your teeth. Flossing can also polish the surfaces of your teeth, and reduce bad breath.

You should be sure to brush your teeth twice a day. Hopkinsmedicine.org recommends that you floss for two or three minutes, at least once a day.

You can floss before you brush, or floss afterwards. Don't use a segment of dental floss more than one time. It can fray and get stuck between your teeth. It can also put bacteria back in your mouth.

Take an 18 inch long piece of floss, wrapped around a finger on either hand, holding it between your thumbs and index fingers. Glide the floss back and forth between your teeth.

Curve the floss in the shape of a C when you get to the gumline, and slide it between your teeth. Hold the floss against the side of your tooth, and slide it up and down, away from your gum.

Give this treatment to each of your teeth, to the front and the back side of each one.

Most dental floss is made with plastic monofilaments or nylon filaments. Some types of dental floss are flavored, for instance with mint.

Dental floss comes in waxed and unwaxed, flavored and unflavored. It can be regular or wide, smooth or textured.

Waxed dental floss is the better choice if you have gotten unwaxed dental floss stuck between your teeth before.

Add a Comment2 Comments


Flossing is such an important activity for dental hygiene. It takes so little time but more than half the country doesn't ever do it.

Marielaina Perrone DDS
Henderson Dental Implants

October 11, 2012 - 7:43am
EmpowHER Guest

I always suggest flossing while doing other activities. For example, floss while watching T.V. It will not seem like so much of a hassel then! -Periodontal Associates

August 20, 2012 - 2:17pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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