Dental Hygiene 101: Flossing

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To help prevent tooth decay and other oral emergencies, it is vital that you remove the plaque from your teeth. But brushing can’t do the job properly on its own. It is vital that you floss your teeth as well as brush, to remove the plaque and debris from all areas of your mouth. This includes places that your brush can’t reach very well, such as in between your teeth and behind your back molars.

To floss correctly, use an 18” piece of single-filament dental floss that has been designed for cleaning in between teeth. Using single-filament floss will help prevent fraying. Do not use thread or floss that has not been specifically designed for cleaning between teeth.

Wrap the floss around two fingers–one on each hand–leaving a bit in between them. Slide this portion of thread between your teeth. Using a careful sawing motion, gently sliding the floss back and forth to the gum line. Repeat this motion moving upwards, removing plaque and debris from teeth as you go. Repeat around each tooth. This should take approximately 2-3 minutes. It does not matter whether you floss first or brush first, as long as you do both.

If traditional flossing is difficult for you for any reason, talk to your dentist about interdental cleaning alternatives. These could include pre-strung flossers, a specially designed dental pick, floss for sensitive teeth, or even a water-flosser.

For more information, call East Coast Family Dental in Jersey City, New Jersey, at 201-332-4699. Dr. Maria Sese and our team are happy to help!