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Preventive Care: Flossing

The CDA and Dr. Grupe advise that in order, “To prevent tooth decay and gum disease, plaque must be thoroughly removed from all tooth surfaces. Unfortunately, the brush cannot reach effectively between the teeth and under the gum-line. Because tooth decay and periodontal disease often start in these areas, it is as important to floss on a daily basis as it is to brush.” [Flossing is an important part of an oral hygiene routine, but research suggests that fewer than half of Americans do so daily. Flossing is simple and only takes an extra couple of minutes per day. Developing a healthy habit of flossing will prevent tooth decay and gum disease, as well as result in maintaining natural teeth with age. So what is the most effective means of flossing?]

  1. Pull the floss taught and slide it between two teeth.
  2. Pull against the side of one tooth, creating a “C-shape” and sliding upwards to remove plaque build-up.
  3. Pull against the opposite tooth edge using the same technique.
  4. Repeat this process for each tooth until all inner surfaces have been flossed.
  5. Don’t forget to floss the backs of your molars!

Need some extra tips?

The American Dental Association recommends using a strand of floss approximately 18 inches in length. It is important to only use clean floss while moving between the teeth. One of the easiest ways of doing this is by looping each end of the floss around the fingers and beginning to floss with the area closest to one end. Be sure to ask Dr. Grupe for a quick in-person tutorial at the next check-up in order to be informed of the most optimal flossing technique.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why floss?

The CDA states that, “Flossing is a skill that needs to be learned. Do not be discouraged if it is difficult at first. Dr. Grupe or the dental hygienist can help the patient learn to floss properly and give the patient tips on how to make it easier. With practice, the patient will find that flossing takes only a few minutes each day.”

Are there other types of interdental cleaners?

According to the CDA, “There are also other types of interdental cleaners, such as thin spiral brushes or wedge-shaped wooden sticks that can be used to help keep the gums and the spaces between the teeth clean and healthy. Dr. Grupe or the dental hygienist can help you choose, and instruct the patient on the proper use of the oral health aides that are best.”

Should I be flossing?

Yes. The ADA recommends that everyone floss in order to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Even if restorations are present, such as crowns or veneers, good oral hygiene is essential for prolonging their use and maintaining overall oral health.

What types of results should I get from flossing?

Flossing can prevent tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss – all of which can be highly inconvenient and expensive to treat. A piece of floss that costs just pennies will save thousands of dollars in the long term.

Is there anything else I should be doing in addition to flossing?

Yes. In addition to flossing, the patient should visit Newport-Irvine Dental at least twice per year for examinations and professional dental cleanings.