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The Correct Way to Floss Your Teeth

Proper flossing can keep those cavities away.
The reason why dentists are nagging us to floss daily is this: What your brushing can't reach, flossing can. In fact, flossing your teeth is the best way to get rid of food particles and plaque that get stuck between your teeth. Of course, the way you floss is imperative in the prevention of tooth decay and gum disease. Here's the 101 on flossing the right way.

Flossing Correctly

  1. Rip off about 18 inches of the floss and wrap it around your index finger. Some people prefer winding it around the middle finger instead, but either way is fine. Twirl the remaining floss around the same finger of the opposite hand, leaving about 7 inches of floss between your fingers.
  2. Holding the floss taut with your thumbs and fingers, gently guide the floss up between your teeth in a sawing motion as you glide it up between the gap. The keyword here is gentle: Don't snap the floss vertically up into the gum line because you may cut your gums.
  3. Move the floss further up to the soft tissue where the gum meets your teeth. Then make a C-curve with the floss to gently scrape against the tooth surface back and forth. This will dislodge the plaque and any food particles that are stuck between the teeth.
  4. Slide the floss out from between your teeth, again in a sawing motion. If your floss gets stuck, don't tug -- you'll hurt yourself. Instead, gently slide it out. Repeat with each of your teeth, moving on to a clean segment of the floss after every couple of teeth flossed.

Don't be discouraged about the clumsy first attempts, you'll get used to flossing after a while. But if you're all thumbs, using a floss holder will help.

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