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Why do we need flossing? How to do it?

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POSTED ON April 25, 2024

Flossing is an essential part of oral hygiene that helps remove plaque and food particles from between your teeth and below the gum line. Unlike brushing, which primarily cleans the surfaces of your teeth, flossing targets the areas that a toothbrush might miss. This can prevent cavities, gum disease, and bad breath.

Why Flossing is Important

Prevents Gum Disease: Plaque buildup along the gumline can lead to gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease. If not addressed, this can progress to periodontitis, a more severe form of gum disease that can result in tooth loss.

Reduces Risk of Cavities: Flossing helps remove plaque from between your teeth, where cavities are more likely to form.

Prevents Bad Breath: Food particles trapped between teeth can lead to bad breath. Flossing helps remove these particles.

Improves Overall Health: Gum disease has been linked to other health issues, such as heart disease and diabetes. Keeping your gums healthy may have broader health benefits.

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How to Floss Properly

Select the Right Floss: Choose a floss type that suits you, whether it’s traditional nylon floss, dental tape, or a floss pick. Waxed floss may be easier to slide between tight spaces, while unwaxed floss provides a better grip.

Take Enough Floss: Cut about 18 inches (45 cm) of floss. This length allows you to use a clean section of floss as you move from tooth to tooth.

Wrap the Floss: Wrap most of the floss around one middle finger, and the rest around the other middle finger. Leave about 1–2 inches of floss to work with.

Insert the Floss: Gently slide the floss between two teeth. Use a gentle back-and-forth motion to avoid snapping the floss into your gums.

Form a “C” Shape: Once the floss is between your teeth, curve it around the base of each tooth to form a “C” shape. This shape helps you clean beneath the gumline..

Clean the Tooth Surface: Move the floss up and down against the tooth to remove plaque and food debris. Be sure to clean both sides of the space between your teeth.

Move to the Next Tooth: After cleaning one area, move to a clean section of floss and repeat the process for the rest of your teeth.

Don’t Forget the Back Teeth: Be sure to floss the back teeth, including the last molars, where plaque often builds up.

Consistency is Key

Floss daily, ideally before bedtime, to maintain optimal oral health. If you’re new to flossing, it might take a few tries to get the hang of it. If you experience bleeding gums, this could be a sign of gum disease, but it should improve with regular flossing. If bleeding persists, consult with a general or family dentist in Bellevue, like Bel-Red Best Smiles, for a professional assessment and advice.

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