***I have a video that shows how to floss. Click here to watch
YOU AND DENTAL FLOSS: WHY AND HOW
The care of the teeth and gums is a very important part of overall health. Flossing cleans 50% of the tooth
structure, yet many people do not floss, or floss infrequently. Here is what's important, and some tips on how to
make it easier.
Important: A floss you can use. There are many flosses on the market. Different flavors,
colors, thicknesses, even different holders. The only thing that matters is that it is one you can use. Experiment
till you find one that works for you. Waxed floss can be easier to get between the teeth, gortex floss is even
slicker. If you have a hard time getting you fingers in the mouth, there are floss fingers that you can use. Some
come pre-flossed, some you put the floss on yourself. They all work.
Important: Be careful with the floss. Don’t snap it between the teeth. This will not get the
food debris out, and will inflame the gum tissue making them really sore. Instead, wrap the floss in a “C” shape
around the tooth and carefully work it down between the contacts. When you are below the contact, keeping a “C”
shape work the floss back and forth under the gum line. Do not force it, you do not want to cut the tissue. Then
come up above the gum, and wrap the floss around the adjacent tooth and clean it, gently back and forth below the
gum line. Then work the floss out from the contact area, and move to the next tooth
Important: Floss all the teeth, even the back of the last teeth. Bacteria and food
debris are everywhere, in the mouth they have no zip code.
Important: Floss everyday!
Not Important: The color of the floss
Not Important: The brand of floss
Not important: Waxed or unwaxed
Not important: Choice of using your fingers or using a flossing device
A word about oral irrigators: Many people think they can use a Water Pik or water jet to clean
between the teeth, like a power washer on the deck. The difference is the soft tissue. If you turn the water
pressure up on the Water Pik, it injects the bacteria into the tissue, causing more irritation and a deeper
infection leading to more bone loss. A good analogy is watering your lawn with the hose. With the water on gently,
the water flows onto the grass and is soaked up. But put a spray nozzle on the hose, turn the water on high and
point it down at the grass and you will dig holes in your lawn. Not what we are trying to accomplish.
A water irrigation device can be a great adjunct to your oral hygiene routine, used after flossing on the lowest
setting, with a small amount of mouth wash or Hydrogen Peroxide in it with warm water.
1. Choose the floss you will be using
• Floss is a personal preference. Use what works best in your mouth and you are comfortable using. There are types
of floss meant to clean under bridges, to use when wearing braces, or orthodontic appliances, and even to use with
implants. Different textures of floss are available also for tighter teeth, or areas where food tends to become
stuck on a regular basis. Floss fingers are also very useful if you have a hard time reaching your back teeth.
2. Tear a piece of floss off of the spool
• Tear a piece of dental floss around 18 inches long. Or select a pre measured piece of super floss, or select your
floss fingers to use.
3. Wrap the dental floss
• Wrap the dental floss around one of your fingers, either the index or middle finger, whichever feels best.
4. Wrap the loose end
• Wrap the loose end of the dental floss around the opposite finger.
5. Grasp the dental floss firmly
• Hold the floss tightly between your pointer finger and thumb.
6. Gently insert dental floss
• Gently insert the dental floss in between your teeth. Try to gently wrap the floss around the tooth, rather then
snapping the floss strait between the teeth and into the gum tissue. This could damage the gum tissue, and it hurts
too! Wrapping the floss on either side making sure to clean not only the side of the tooth but also around the
edges toward the
7. Floss under the gum line
• After the floss is inserted, gently move it back and forth underneath the gum and in a “C” shape around and
against each tooth, one side at a time.
8. Floss all Upper and lower Teeth
• Position your hands so they feel comfortable when reaching the back teeth. Be sure to floss all of your teeth,
upper and lower.
9. Don’t forget your back teeth
• It is important to floss behind the very back teeth and the back of teeth where a tooth is missing. This removes
bacteria under the gum line and cleans the hard to reach area on the back side of the teeth.
I have a video that shows how to floss. Click here to watch it.
July 1, 2009
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