Why is it important to floss and what is the right way to do it?

Subject – Reasons for using dental floss and techniques to floss.

While tooth brushing is a vital adjunct to keeping your teeth, gums and tongue healthy, it is by no means 100% effective in removing all the plaque and bacteria in one’s mouth. Plaque and bacteria gather in the spaces between teeth that are often difficult, if not impossible, to reach with a toothbrush alone. If left to accumulate, this plaque and bacteria may lead to tooth decay between adjacent teeth as well as periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a slow moving inflammation, bone loss, tooth mobility and eventually tooth loss.

In order to remove the bacteria and plaque between the teeth, the most effective tool is dental floss. Flossing should be performed at least once daily and should be incorporated into daily oral health programs. The American Dental Hygienists Association has coined a phrase to describe proper flossing technique: Wind, Guide, Glide and Slide.

One should wind approximately 18 inches of dental floss between their thumb and forefinger exposing about 2-3 inches of floss.

The exposed floss should then be guided between the contact points of adjacent teeth. It is important to start in one corner of the mouth and to work one’s way around each arch so that each tooth is flossed. One should glide the floss between the teeth gently by using a sliding zigzag motion. It is important not to snap floss between teeth into the gums as this may cause damage to the gum tissue. One should then slide the floss along the sides of each adjacent tooth. In this manner, the plaque and bacteria that has gathered in this area will be safely and effectively removed. When used in conjunction with a regular oral health care regimen, the use of dental floss on a daily basis is a very important tool in the battle against tooth decay and periodontal disease.