Adding "Flossing Teeth" to Your Daily Routine

If you're guilty of sheepishly answering, "Not always," when asked by the dentist about flossing teeth, you're not the only one. Some statistics say that nearly 80 percent of people don't floss.

Even though you've heard how important it is to floss many, many times, you probably tune out when the dentist or dental hygienist starts talking about it. For some reason, it's a habit that's difficult to incorporate, likely because it's time-consuming, messy, or just one more thing you have to do.

Well, it turns out that this part of your daily routine is worth every second. Since your toothbrush can't reach everywhere in your mouth (namely between your teeth), flossing is the best way to remove any remaining food particles and plaque to prevent decay from forming on your teeth and gingivitis (inflammation of the gum tissue) between your teeth. As an added bonus, it also helps prevent bad breath, since it can keep bacteria from forming in those tough-to-reach spots.

Flossing is important in maintaining healthy gums and preventing periodontal disease, as well. Your oral health is connected to your physical health, and not brushing or flossing can actually make you susceptible to infection. You can read more about the benefits of flossing in the Colgate Oral Care resources.

Besides acknowledging that flossing teeth is a good habit, how can you willingly add it to your daily routine if you have trouble with traditional dental floss? There are several options one can use to clean between the teeth. The first is floss picks and floss holders. These handy contraptions are easy to use, quick, and neat. For people who have space, consider proxabrushes which have a handle and a brush that is used to clean between teeth. At the end of the day, you must admit how refreshed and just-been-to-the-dentist your mouth feels after a good flossing. It's quite nice.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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How to FLOSS

  1. Pull 18 to 24 inches of dental floss from the floss dispenser.

  2. Wrap the ends of the floss around your index and middle fingers.

  3. Hold the floss tightly around each tooth in a C shape; move the floss back and forth in a push-pull motion and up and down against the side of each tooth.

How to BRUSH

  1. Place the toothbrush at a 45°angle along the gum line. Move the toothbrush in a back and forth motion, and repeat for each tooth.

  2. Brush the inside surface of each tooth, using the same back and forth technique.

  3. Brush the chewing surface (top) of each tooth.

  4. Use tip of brush to brush behind each tooth — front and back, top and bottom and up and down strokes.

  5. Be sure to brush your tongue to remove odor-causing bacteria.