FLOSS!!! Can you believe it?! Really, flossing is one of the very best things you can do to ward of dental problems. First let's explore why. Floss works to clean between the teeth where the tooth brush bristles cannot reach. By gently rubbing the floss along the sides of the teeth it mechanically removes plaque (bacteria and their products) and small particles of food. Bushing alone only cleans part of the tooth. By removing the bacteria and food you can prevent not only cavities from forming between teeth but also problems like gum disease!
How do I floss? Gently hold the floss between your thumbs and pointer fingers and slide it between the teeth. Never saw at the gums or snap the floss down forcefully- this can hurt. Curve the floss around the side of the tooth and gently go up and down. Now do it on the other tooth. Repeat until you have gone around all of the teeth.
When do I floss? It really does not matter if you do it before or after brushing, at night or in the morning, in the car or at the sink- just do it once a day. If that sounds like a lot, how about just on the weekends and buildup to everyday? Remember- some is better than none ;)
But my gums bleed when I floss and it hurts! Very often when starting a regular flossing program patients have gingivitis and their gums will bleed when flossing. With regular flossing this will stop happening after about 2 weeks. If it continues you may be flossing too aggressively or be suffering from more than gingivitis. Check with your dentist if bleeding continues.
So, it is time to use your floss for more than art! Get started today!