Do You Really Need to Floss?

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A healthy, youthful smile isn’t just about having straight, bright white teeth. Your gums play a major role in maintaining a youthful appearance. From gingivitis to periodontal disease, all gum disease stems from bacteria and can lead to decay, bone loss and missing teeth, resulting in an aged appearance.

Flossing is imperative to preventing gum disease. Staten Island, NY, cosmetic dentist Louis F. DeSantis, DDS says, “Brushing only cleans three out of five surfaces of a tooth. The area in between teeth is best cleaned with dental floss. Without flossing it takes only 24 hours for bacterial colonies to set up between teeth and for gum disease to potentially begin.” New York cosmetic dentist Irwin Smigel, DDS adds, “Bleeding gums should never be ignored, because untreated bleeding can lead to periodontal disease.”

Not sure if you’re flossing correctly? Follow these directions, approved by the American Dental Association (ADA):

1. Use about 18 inches of floss wound around one of your middle fingers, with the rest wound around the opposite middle finger. 

2. Hold the floss tightly between the thumbs and forefingers and gently insert it between the teeth.

3. Curve the floss into a “C” shape against the side of the tooth.

4. Rub the floss gently up and down, keeping it pressed against the tooth. Don’t jerk or snap the floss.

5. Floss all your teeth. Don’t forget to floss behind your back teeth.