What is flossing?

Flossing - what is it and why should we do it?

Flossing is a vital part of the daily hygiene routine as it prevents morsels of food from becoming lodged in your teeth which can lead to bacteria forming and cavities emerging. These cavities then lead to greater dental problems such as abscesses or infections. Whilst brushing your teeth daily can be a good way of preventing the build-up of plaqueA soft sticky substance that accumulates on teeth composed largely of bacteria and bacterial derivatives. and disease, some toothbrushes are unable to get in between your teeth and to the gums and as a result, decayThe lay term for carious lesions in a tooth; decomposition of tooth structure. could still appear. Approximately 40% of your teeth surfaces are between your teeth.

Flossing is the technique by which a person cleans and removes the food stuck between your teeth using a tool known as dental floss. This is a cord of thin filaments that can comfortably fit between the teeth and remove plaque and prevent gum disease.

To floss, you need to hold the floss between your thumb and finger and then gently slide it between each tooth, gliding it up and down. You should avoid flossing too vigorously as this could lead to cutting your gums. When you floss, you will need around 18 to 24 inches of the cord, to floss each tooth with a new section. This ensures that your technique is sanitary, and you are not merely transferring bacteria from one tooth to another.

If you have any questions about flossing or any concerns regarding the best techniques feel free to ask your dentist at your next appointment and they will be happy to talk you through flossing step by step.

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