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As you fight the battle against tooth decay and gum disease, flossing your teeth is a necessary weapon in your arsenal to building good oral health. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends flossing at least once each day along with brushing several times a day. While your toothbrush cleans the tops and sides of teeth, it just can’t reach the tight spaces between the teeth. Dental floss removes those bits of food particles and plaque that stick to teeth and lead to dental caries and gingivitis.

The major rule to remember with flossing is that you spend enough time on doing the job correctly. You can floss before or after brushing, when you go to bed or when you wake up–just make sure to pick a time that lets you be thorough in the flossing efforts.

To begin, select a floss that works for you. Make sure the product has the ADA Seal of approval on the label to ensure that it is both safe and effective. There are two types of floss strings available on the market:

Single filament (monofilament) floss does not tear or shred while using but is slightly more expensive.

Nylon multifilament floss comes in waxed or unwaxed form, and may tear or shred while using.

Either type of floss is works well. Once you have chosen the floss you like, it is time to clean those teeth like a pro:

No. 1 Wind about 18 inches of the floss from your floss dispenser.

No. 2 Wrap the amount of floss you have pulled around each of your middle fingers, with about an inch or so that you will be cleaning with at a time.

No. 3 Keep the floss taut between your thumbs and your index fingers and slide gently between your teeth using an up-and-down movement.

No. 4 Work it in a U or C-curved shape around the base of each tooth, and slide gently below the gum line as well.

No. 5 Gently work the floss, moving back and forth and up and down against the sides of each tooth.

No. 6 Use clean sections of floss every time you move to a new tooth.

No. 7 To remove loosened debris, rinse your mouth after flossing with water or mouthwash.

Taking a few extra minutes each day to thoroughly floss your teeth will keep your mouth healthy and your smile bright! If you have any questions or concerns, please call the dental team of Dr. Mario Roybal at 228-388-4519 today.