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How to Use Dental Floss

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Dental floss helps remove food debris and bacterial film from between teeth before it hardens and turns into plaque. An ordinary brush can’t do this task. Its wide bristles can’t go deep into the spaces between the teeth, especially if they’re really close together.

5-Minute Crafts prepared some illustrated instructions for how to properly use dental floss. By using it on a regular basis, you’ll decrease the possibility of cavities and improve your oral health.

Types of dental floss

  • Standard floss: This is a thin, nylon strand that can fit in between the teeth.

  • Waxed floss: It’s wider and flatter than the standard floss. Thanks to its wax coating, it moves more easily between teeth that stand too close together.

  • Toothpick floss: This is floss attached to a special plastic handle. It’s ready for use.

  • Super floss: This dental floss threader can work with braces, bridges, and gaps. It has 3 components: a stiffened end for flossing underneath appliances, a spongy floss to clean around your appliances, and regular floss to eliminate plaque underneath your gumline.

How to choose dental floss

1. Thread thickness: Choose a thin one if the gaps between your teeth are very narrow and a thicker one if the gaps are wider. Super floss is suitable for wide gaps.

2. Multiple types of dental floss: If your teeth have gaps of different widths, it makes sense to alternate between 2 different types of floss.

3. Waxed and unwaxed floss: It depends on your personal preference. But in general, waxed floss moves easier between teeth or braces.

4. Flavored floss: Sometimes dental floss is saturated with menthol extract. It freshens your breath, like when you floss your teeth after a meal. Before purchasing such floss, make sure that you’re not hypersensitive to menthol.

How to use dental floss

1. Break off 15 to 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around one of your middle fingers. Wind the remaining floss around the same finger of the opposite hand.

2. Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers.

3. Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion. Never snap the floss into the gums.

4. When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a “C” shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth.

5. Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum with up and down motions. Repeat this method on the rest of your teeth.

When you should floss

Floss your teeth at least once a day, before your morning or evening brushing. There’s no limit to how many times you can floss a day. You can do it whenever you have food debris stuck in your teeth if it’s making you feel uncomfortable.

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