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The Why and How of Flossing

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We’ve all heard that flossing our teeth is an important part of dental hygiene. But how does one floss correctly? Why does it matter?

Cleaning between your teeth helps remove plaque. Plaque is a sticky substance containing bacteria; those bacteria thrive on the leftover sugars and food particles in your mouth. The acidic byproduct of the bacteria eats away at the tooth enamel, and can cause cavities and gum disease. Thus, using floss and other interdental cleaners can help keep your mouth protected from dental emergencies.

Some have asked if it is better to floss before you brush or after you brush. The answer is: it doesn’t matter. The most important thing about flossing or other interdental cleaning is that it gets done, once a day, for 2-3 minutes each session! Almost anytime is a great time to floss.

There are many options available for cleaning between your teeth: dental floss, a dental pick, a wooden plaque remover, or a pre-strung flosser. If you choose to use a wooden plaque remover, talk to your dentist about how to use it safely so you don’t injure tender gum tissues.

If you continue to have difficulty with the habit of flossing, try different styles (flavored floss, or comfort floss, for example) or cleaners until you find one that works for you. Some mouths have a hard time with conventional flossing techniques, especially if you have braces or dental bridges. In this case, water flossing might be a good idea!

Flossing should not be painful. It is normal for some discomfort to be present when you are first starting out, but if the pain persists for more than a week or two, call your dentist.

Call Szmanda Dental Wittenberg at 715-253-3200 and ask your dentist about the best interdental cleaner for you.