Flossing 101

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We all know how important flossing is: it is essential in preventing periodontal disease. If you’re ignoring this, you could end up with inflamed, bleeding gums (not cute). Plus, new research indicates that there is a connection between periodontal disease and other chronic conditions, meaning oral care should be on your priority list.

Dentists recommend that we floss daily. And although you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to floss, it’s possible you could be doing it wrong. Trust me, I’m not trying to educate you on something you’ve already learned from a Muppet or a purple dinosaur, but even though I floss all the time, my dentist still seems to question my oral hygiene routine. So for all of you out there who floss but still have your dentist shaking their head, here are the official directions on how to floss your teeth, straight from the American Dental Association. Follow these tips and you’re sure to receive a high-five from your dentist upon your next visit:

• Break off about 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. This finger will take up the floss as it becomes dirty. Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers.

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

• 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.

• 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.

• Don’t forget the back side of your last tooth.

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