Dental floss

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Updated: 1/14/2003 1:29 pm Published: 1/14/2003 1:29 pm

Using dental floss is a very important part of your daily oral hygiene regimen along with brushing your teeth at least twice a day and eating a well balanced diet. Dental floss helps to remove the harmful germs that attack your teeth and gums when plaque builds up. In addition to the front and backsides of your teeth, plaque builds up between your teeth and at your gumline and cannot be reached with your toothbrush. Your dentist will instruct you on the proper technique of flossing. Suggestions include curving the floss around each tooth and using circular and short back and forth motions. Avoid hard back and forth scrubbing and don't snap the floss against your gums. Rinse your mouth after flossing to remove loosened particles. It's best to floss after you've eaten your last meal each day. Ask your dentist or hygienist about your flossing needs, as you may only need to floss once a day, or there may be a particular area of your mouth that needs extra attention. If you're new to flossing or don't floss regularly, you may notice a slight bleeding of your gums which is a sign of gum disease. As you start to floss daily, the bleeding and gum disease should stop. If you have any concerns, contact your dentist. There are different types of floss available, some are waxed or treated with fluoride. Your dentist can suggest which would be more useful or easier to use. While necessary for the prevention of plaque and gum disease, flossing will only be effective when combined with brushing and regular visits to your dentist.

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