72 Hughes Road., Madison, AL 35758    (256) 772-5757

September 25, 2013
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Many people don't truly understand the benefits and necessity of floss.  Here are some answers to frequently asked questions on flossing:

Why should I floss?

    If you're not flossing, you are allowing plaque and food debris to adhere and pack into the spaces and gum tissue between the teeth.  Flossing is as important as brushing in preventing periodontal disease.  Periodontal disease occurs when the attachment of the gum tissue to the tooth starts to deteriorate.  Flossing under the gumline will help keep the attachment apparatus free of bacteria.  You can not keep your teeth and gum tissue healthy without good brushing AND flossing habits.

There are so many different types of flossing tools available.  What should I be using?

    There are so many different types of flossing tools because every tool serves the flossing needs for a specific person.  If you are healthy and have no motor issues with your hands, you should be using regular floss.  If you have any issues with your hands, like arthritis or numbness, you might want to try a flossing aid with a wide handle that would be easier to hold.  If you have braces or bridges, floss threaders and/or Superfloss would be good to add to your grocery list.  If you have gum recession and spaces between your teeth at the gumline, interdental brushes would be a good option.

How should I floss

    If you are physically able to use regular floss, start with a piece about 18" long.  Wrap the ends of the floss around the tips of your middle fingers until the middle of the floss is only a few inches long and taut.  Next, use your index fingers and thumbs to help push the floss in between the teeth.  Don't push too hard or you might harm your gum tissue.  Using a sawing (back and forth) motion with light pressure is best to get the floss through the contact of the teeth.  Now that you're through the contact, you're not done yet!  Bend the floss in a "C" shape against each tooth and rub the floss up and down the side of the teeth, making sure to go under the gum tissue as well.  This is the most effective way to clear interproximal bacteria and debris. If you are using a flossing aid where the floss will not bend, just make sure you are "scrubbing" the sides of both teeth at each contact and going under the gumline with the floss available.

How often should I floss?

    Preferrably, you should floss every time after you eat.  Most people don't carry around their floss, though, so at least once a day will suffice.  It is best to floss at night in order to clear the bacteria and debris that could have collected throughout the day.

We hope this helps answer your questions and motivate you to floss every day!

If you have any other questions, feel free to contact our office at (256) 772-5757.


Dentist - Madison
72 Hughes Rd
Madison, AL 35758
(256) 772-5757