Periodontal disease and dental decay often start in between your teeth where the toothbrush cannot reach. Flossing is the best way to remove plaque from those surfaces. It is important to floss with the correct technique.
- Start with a piece of floss (waxed is easier) about 30 cm long.
- Lightly wrap most of the floss around the middle finger of one hand.
- Wrap the rest of the floss around the middle finger of the other hand.
- Hold the floss tightly between the thumb and forefinger of each hand, like the pincers of a crab.
- Gently insert the floss tightly between the teeth using a back-and-forth motion. Do not force the floss or try to snap it into place.
- Bring the floss to the gum line then curve it into a C-shape against one tooth and then move the floss up and down on the side of one tooth. Remember there are two tooth surfaces that need to be cleaned in each space.
- Lift the floss away from the gum before moving the floss to clean the other surface. This is so that you do not cut the gum tissue between the teeth.
- As the floss becomes soiled, turn from one finger to the other to get a fresh section. Do not forget the backside of the last tooth, on both sides, upper and lower.
- When you are done, rinse vigorously with water to remove plaque and food particles.
Do not be alarmed if, during the first week of flossing, your gums bleed or are a little sore. If your gums hurt while flossing, you could be doing it too hard or pinching the gum. As you floss daily and remove the plaque, your gums will heal and the bleeding should stop.