1. Pull about 18 inches of floss and wrap most of it around the index or middle finger of each hand so you have only a few inches between your hands.
2. Hold the floss between your thumbs and fingers and saw between each set of teeth until the floss gently pops between the teeth.
3. Pull the floss tight against the side of one tooth so it forms a “C” shape and slide it up and down.
4. Gently get down below the gum between each tooth and gumline.
5. Repeat for each pair of teeth.
6. Remember to floss the backside of the back tooth in each corner of your mouth.
Just two weeks of flossing, added to regular toothbrushing, can significantly reduce bleeding gums and bad breath, according to a study published in the Journal of Periodontology.
The study included 51 sets of twins, ages 12 to 21, who were divided into two groups. One group brushed their teeth and tongue twice a day, while the other group did the same, along with flossing twice a day.1
After two weeks, the group that brushed and flossed had a 38 percent reduction in gum bleeding. In contrast, participants who only brushed experienced a 4 percent increase in gum bleeding.2 Both regimens were found to lower the chance of having halitosis, or bad breath.1
Daily brushing and flossing are the best ways to take care of your teeth and gums between visits to the dentist. They remove plaque that forms daily and can cause cavities, gum disease and even tooth loss. Fortunately, keeping your teeth clean is easy and takes only a few minutes a day. There are different ways to brush and several different types of tooth brushes. No one particular way of brushing has been found to be the best way but here are some helpful hints for keeping a healthy mouth for a lifetime.
1 “Assessment of Treatment Responses to Dental Flossing in Twins.” A. Biesbrock et al. Journal of Periodontology. 2006, vol. 77, no. 8, pp. 1386–91.
2 “New Study Drives Home the Importance of Tooth Brushing and Dental Flossing.”American Academy of Periodontology, August 1, 2006. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060801131724.htm Accessed 2010.