Yes! Flossing lifts and removes plaque and food in between your teeth and under your gums, areas that are difficult for your toothbrush to reach.  Research has shown that oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream and contribute to damaging systemic inflammation.  Many studies have shown a strong link between gum disease and heart disease, stroke, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, premature birth, Alzheimer’s and various cancers.

Use a piece of floss 15 to 18 inches long and wind it around your middle fingers, leaving an inch or two of floss to work with.  Holding the floss tightly between your index fingers and thumb, gently slide the floss in between your teeth.  Wrap the floss around each tooth in the shape of a “C” as if you are hugging the tooth with floss.  Then gently polish the tooth with an up and down motion, making sure you are sliding the floss under the gums.  Remember to get the backsides of your last teeth, even if there isn’t a neighboring tooth.  Use a fresh area of floss in between each individual tooth.

Most floss is made of either nylon or Teflon.  Both are equally effective.  People with larger spaces between their teeth or with gum recession (loss of gum tissue, which exposes the roots of teeth) tend to get better results with a flat, wide dental tape.  If your teeth are close together, try a thin floss that bills itself as shred resistant, such as Glide.

Bridges and braces require a floss threader, which looks like a plastic sewing needle, to get underneath the restorations or wires and between the teeth.  Super floss has a stiff end that helps you fish the floss through the teeth plus a fuzzy segment and regular floss for cleaning.

Don’t worry about a little blood.  Bleeding means that your gums are inflamed because plaque has built up and needs to be cleaned away.  If bleeding continues after several days, you may have periodontal disease.  Please contact us for an evaluation.

If you lack the hand dexterity to floss with string, try soft wooden plaque removers, which look similar to toothpicks or two-pronged plastic floss holders.

Flossing is a low cost and easy way to prevent tooth decay, tooth loss, inflammation and promote a healthy mouth, body and mind!

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