What is flossing?

Flossing is a method for removing plaque and food debris that cannot be reached by a toothbrush. It generally entails using a very thin piece of waxed string that you insert between the sides of two adjacent teeth.

Why is flossing important?

Dentists and Hygienists will tell you that flossing is the single most important weapon for removing plaque and food debris from in between the teeth.  Daily flossing is an excellent and proven method for complementing your brushing routine and helps to prevent cavities, periodontal disease, and other dental problems later in life. It also increases blood circulation in your gums. 

How often to floss

Floss at least once a day, preferably at night before going to sleep. Like brushing, flossing should take about two minutes and can easily be done while doing another activity, such as watching television. However, do not attempt to floss your teeth while operating a motor vehicle or other machinery !

Flossing techniques

Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around your index finger. Wind the rest of the floss similarly around the index finger of your other hand. This finger takes up the floss as it becomes soiled or frayed. Gently work the floss between your teeth with your index fingers and thumbs. Do not snap it straight down, as this will irriate or cut  the gum tissue. Maneuver the floss down under the gumline forming a "C" shape around the tooth. Bring the floss up slightly, forming a reverse"C" shape around the adjacent tooth, making sure you gently scrap the side of each tooth with the floss.

If you don't have the manual dexterity for the above technique, there are various floss aids commercially available in most drug stores.

Your gums may be tender or even bleed for the first few times flossing - a condition that will heal within a few days as you bring your gums to a healthy state.