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Flossing Your Teeth

I hear everyday many of my patients complain about flossing. While brushing twice a day is a habit for majority of you, flossing, on the other hand, is not so much.  Yet, flossing remains the best method for most effectively removing plaque from between the teeth where the brush won’t reach.

Patients complain about discomfort of a tight floss on their fingers, tight cheeks not allowing for proper flossing, not having time to floss, etc the list goes on..

While the technique still requires a degree of dexterity and most importantly practice and perseverance to become comfortable and efficient, it is worth giving it a try.

Here is an easy  instruction on this type of flossing

Take a length of your favorite type of floss (waxed & tape or ribbon shape) about 10 – 12 inches. Wrap the floss around your middle fingers of both hands.  

This will leave your index fingers and thumbs free to manipulate the floss depending on which side of your mouth you are flossing.

Generally speaking using thumbs for upper teeth and index fingers for lower teeth are easier but please use any finger you like to maneuver the floss around your teeth.

“C” wrap the floss to curve around the shape of each tooth. Move the floss vertically, curving it gently up and down 3 – 6 times until the tooth feels “squeaky” clean, being careful that the floss goes just below the gum tissue without hurting or damaging the gums.

Move around the floss using a clean area of it for each tooth or few teeth.  

Irritated gums sometimes bleed easily but don’t get discouraged, keep flossing correctly and gently until they stop bleeding. It may take you a few weeks until good oral hygiene (brushing and flossing) turn gingivitis back to healthy gums.

Remember, flossing thoroughly once a day before or after brushing should be enough for most people to keep their gums healthy. As always, practice does makes perfect, so please practice this technique until you master it. You owe it to your health.

Dr Arash Asil DDS, is a dentist at Smile Design Dental Group in San Clemente, CA. Call (949) 481-2000 or click here to make an appointment.