toothbrushes-225x300Despite what dentists have been telling us for years, most people still believe that flossing is only necessary when debris is caught between their teeth. While it does remove these particles, it is important as a part of your daily oral care.

Brushing alone does not remove all of the plaque or smaller particles from your mouth. The only way to thoroughly clean between your teeth is to floss.

If you allow plaque to build up between your teeth, it will eventually harden into tartar, which will need to be removed by your dentist. Bacteria also builds up between teeth and causes decay, which leads to cavities, root canals, and worse over time. Flossing once a day will help prevent this buildup so your teeth stay cleaner and healthier.

The following will help you choose the right floss and show you the proper way to use it.

There are different types of floss; the right one for you will depend on your tooth gap size and condition of your gums. If you have larger gaps you can use unwaxed or filament floss because you won’t need to extra glide wax offers. If you have tight tooth spaces, waxed or string floss will be easiest for you to use. If you have sensitive gums, waxed floss will make the process more comfortable as well.

To begin, pull a small amount of floss out – twelve to fifteen inches works well for most people. Wrap each end around the index fingers of both hands. Use your thumb to grip so the floss doesn’t slide between your fingers while you floss your teeth.

Insert the strand between your teeth and use a gentle forward and backward motion to clean the space. When trying new floss for the first time you should know quickly if you have the right kind. Flossing should not be painful or difficult, if it is, try a different type of floss.

As you clean the sides of your teeth you should be able to see the plaque and other buildup on the ribbon. Be sure to clean all the way down to your gums but don’t force the floss into your gums, as that will cause discomfort and possible bleeding.

After finishing one tooth gap, adjust the floss and insert a clean portion into the next gap. Rinse with water a few times during the process to remove any loose particles that may still be clinging to your teeth.

The entire process should take only a few minutes. If done once per day you will see a noticeable difference in your oral health and so will your dentist. The best time to floss is in the evening – this removes the buildup from the day so you go to bed with a fresh, clean mouth and nothing is left to fester overnight.