Flossing is an effective way to remove plaque and particles from the interdental regions (spaces between the teeth). Flossing is especially important for the prevention periodontal disease, as it helps to limit the depth of the gum pockets (sulcus). Since it is difficult to reach the interdental regions with a toothbrush, dental floss should be used to cleanse those spaces on a daily basis. There is a wide variety of types and even flavors of floss available. These minor details are not relevant to the effectiveness of flossing—but select floss that you find pleasant to use, and that is easy for you to handle.
The following steps will serve as your basic guide for proper flossing:
- Cut a section of floss to a convenient length—many people prefer about 18 inches.
- Wrap one end of your floss around the middle finger of your right hand, the other end around the middle finger of the left hand, then adjust it to position your hands about 2 to 3 inches apart.
- Insert the floss gently between two, teeth working it toward the gum line.
- Wrap the floss into a C-shape around each individual tooth then gently slide it beneath the gum line.
- Move the floss carefully up and down several times on each tooth to remove interdental debris, food particles and plaque.
- Be careful not to “pop” the floss in and out between the teeth. Doing so is likely to cut or irritate the gums and may cause inflammation.