FAQ About Flossing

The importance of keeping your teeth clean and healthy

You need your teeth to perform many different tasks such as eating, speaking and smiling. Without them it would be a very difficult task to get through each day. It is therefore highly important to maintain the health of your teeth, which is possible with an effective oral hygiene routine.

How can I clean between my teeth?

The spaces between the teeth can often be difficult to clean and require more than just a regular toothbrush. Dental tape or dental floss can effectively fit between these small spaces, to remove trapped food, debris and bacteria. This will prevent the development of bad breath, tooth rot and gum disease.

How do I use floss to clean between my teeth?

Use about eighteen inches of floss per arch, separating a section of the floss for each tooth. Wrap this section of floss between your two index fingers to form a bridge of floss of about one inch, which you can insert between the tooth gaps.

With a gentle back and forward motion, fit the floss between the tooth gaps and guide it between the teeth and along the gumline. The gumline should curve like a C and you should use floss along this space too. Do not push beyond the tooth root.

To clean the rest of the tooth use the floss to scrape between the two teeth, flossing back and forth gently. Be careful with the force you apply between the teeth and move the floss from the tooth quickly.

Use a regular routine; maybe start from the front tooth and work one way and then the other. This will help you to remember which teeth you have cleaned and ensure you floss every tooth.

Is it normal for my gums to bleed when I floss?

When you first start to floss there may be some bleeding from your gums, but this shouldn't usually occur past the sixth day. The bleeding will stop once you have removed the damaging plaque and bacteria from between the teeth. However, if your gums continue to bleed you should consult your dentist. It could be an indication of gum disease, which will require cleaning to treat.

What if I am unable to use dental floss?

If you are finding it difficult to clean between the teeth using floss, there are a number of other options to choose from. These include interdental brushes, a floss holder or other small cleaning aids. Ask your dentist or dental hygienist about the best cleaning tools for you.

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