Q. How do I floss correctly?
A. You may be an expert in brushing your teeth correctly, but did you know that brushing alone only cleans about 60 per cent of your mouth? Small pieces of food and plaque can get stuck between the teeth and so interdental cleaning is needed to stop the build-up of plaque in order to avoid the bacteria from irritating and infecting your gums. Dental floss is designed to get into those hard to reach areas.
However, some people can use them incorrectly and risk damaging their gums. You should cut about 45cm (18inches)of floss and hold the floss taut between your hands. Gently slide the floss between your teeth and floss up and down the sides. When you get to the gum-line, curve the floss into a C-shape against the tooth and gently scrape away from the gum– this will help clean the gumline without damaging it. Repeat this process between every single tooth, including the sides and back of the mouth, starting from one side to the next so that you don’t miss a single tooth.
You might find that your gums bleed when you first begin flossing, but if you continue to floss regularly the bleeding should stop as your teeth and gums become healthier. If the bleeding continues after a few days, see your dentist and he or she will check if you are flossing correctly. If you find flossing difficult, some people use a floss holder or interdental brushes. Ask your dentist for advice on other ways of cleaning between your teeth effectively.