What is flossing?
Flossing is a method for removing bacteria and other debris that cannot be reached by a toothbrush. It entails a piece of synthetic cord you insert and move up and down between the sides of two adjoining teeth.
Why is flossing important?
Daily flossing is an excellent and proven method for complementing your brushing routine and helping to prevent cavities, periodontal disease, and other dental problems later in life. It also increases blood circulation in your gums. Floss removes plaque and debris that stick to your teeth and gums.
How often to floss
Floss at least once every day. Like brushing, flossing should take about three minutes and can easily be done while doing another activity, such as watching television.
"C"-shaped flossing is the proper technique to use when flossing using either string floss or floss piks.
When using string floss: Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around your middle finger. Wind the rest of the floss similarly around the middle finger of your other hand. This finger takes up the floss as it becomes soiled or frayed. Move the floss between your teeth with your index fingers and thumbs. Maneuver the floss up and down several times forming a "C" shape around the tooth. While doing this, make sure you go below the gum line, where bacteria are known to collect heavily. The same movement should be used when using floss piks.
With either type of floss, never "snap" the floss because this can cut your gums. Your gums may be tender or even bleed for the first few days after flossing - a condition that generally heals within a few days.