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Proper Teeth Flossing Techniques

Updated on November 29, 2012

Most everyone knows what floss is. They know what its for, what it does, and how to use it. Or do you? Do you know the proper way to floss your teeth? Did you know that flossing can actually help relieve bad breath almost more than brushing? Combined with brushing, flossing helps keep your mouth clean and free of plaque, bacteria, and food particles. This helps prevent tooth decay. Its important to floss your teeth whenever you brush, because brushing can only reach the majority of your teeth. Food particles, sugars, and other things that cause tooth decay, such as bacteria, can be found between your teeth, where your toothbrush can't reach it. This is when floss comes in handy. With floss, you can actually remove this gunk from between your teeth before it has a chance to set in, and cause decay. If you brush and floss daily, and still suffer from dental problems or bad breath, you should see your local Niceville dentist as more serious dental or health problems could be present.

Step 1 - The Top Teeth

To begin flossing, first you need to get a piece of floss. Typically, about 18 inches is a good length for floss. Your going to want that much, because your floss will get dirty while its being used. To begin, start by placing the floss between your index fingers and thumbs, with your thumbs on the bottom. Some people find that its easier to wrap a bit of the floss around their fingers. Leave about an inch or two between your fingers to allow the floss to slide between your teeth. Start in the middle, and work the floss using a back and forth method, in between your teeth gently, and pull the floss to one side of your tooth, and go up and down, while continuing the sawing motion. Go up and down a couple of times, then do the same on the other side (will actually be the other tooth). Once this is done, pull the floss out from in between your teeth, and move to the next one. Continue till one side is done, then continue on the other. Make sure to do the backs of the very last molars as well. You might find its easier to use the floss if you direct it with your thumbs between your teeth.

Step 2- The Bottom Teeth

This is pretty much the same thing, except you want your index fingers to direct the floss between your teeth instead of your thumbs. Again, use a sawing motion, and go up and down to loosen and remove plaque, bacteria, and food particles. Start in the middle, and work your way around one side, then the other. Once done, simply throw the floss away. Now all that is left is to brush your teeth.

Using a Flossing Tool

If you don't like using traditional floss, there are tools out there that have a piece of floss stretched across two holders. These tools are great for spot flossing food out from between teeth, and can be effective for standard daily flossing. These are used the same way that you would with regular floss, except that you don't have to hold the actual floss, and you generally don't have to stick a hand or finger in your mouth. Simply use them the same as you would regular floss, with a sawing up and down motion, on each side of the teeth.

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