Why Should I Floss My Teeth?

Why should I floss my teeth?

From the age of 12, you should use interdental brushes in addition to brushing as part of your daily oral health practice.

Flossing can be a good alternative for people who don't have enough room between their teeth to use an interdental brush.

Your dentist may show you how to clean between your teeth properly.

How to use dental floss

Dental floss is a fine, soft thread that is used to clean teeth. If floss is too difficult to use, try dental tape, which is thicker.

If you floss too aggressively, you risk damaging your gums.

The main action of flossing is a firm but gentle scraping of the tooth from the top down.

Flossing tips

Cut around 45cm of floss and wrap it over each hand's index and middle fingers.
Hold the floss securely between your thumbs and forefingers, leaving about 2.5cm of thread between them.
To guide the floss between your teeth, use a gentle "rocking" action. The floss should not be snapped into the gums.
Curl the floss into a C-shape against a tooth when it reaches your gumline until you feel resistance.

Hold the floss against your tooth. Gently scrape the side of your tooth, moving the floss away from the gum. Repeat again on the other side of the gap, along the side of the next tooth.

When flossing, keep to a regular pattern. Start at the top and work from left to right, then move to the bottom and again work from the left to right. This way you're less likely to miss any teeth.

What if my gums bleed?

Your gums may be sore and bleed a little when you first start flossing. As your gums grow healthier, continue flossing as advised by your dental staff, and the bleeding should cease.

What if I find flossing difficult?

If flossing is difficult for you, your dentist can suggest alternative methods of cleaning between your teeth.

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