The most simple and effective way to maintain good dental hygiene is to regularly brush and floss your teeth. While brushing cleans and removes plaque from the surface of your teeth, flossing removes food particles and plaque between the teeth that a toothbrush cannot reach. A build-up of plaque can cause serious health problems such as tooth decay and gum disease.
Professionals recommend that you brush your teeth twice and day and floss at least once a day. Although it is only recommended that you floss once a day, a good habit to form is to floss your teeth at the same time as brushing them.
Before or After Brushing?
When it comes to cleaning your teeth, it is important to floss your teeth before your brush your teeth. Flossing your teeth enables you to clean away all plaque and food debris that may be stuck between your teeth. Once the area between your teeth is cleaned your toothbrush and toothpaste can do their job more thoroughly and clean places they may not have been able to previously reach. Also, when flossing your teeth you will loosen food particles and plaque that may be sitting between your teeth or on your gums, but may not completely remove them. By brushing your teeth after flossing you are able to remove all loose particles that may still remain on your teeth and provide a thorough clean.
While most of us understand the importance of brushing and flossing, it is also important to ensure that we are doing these correctly. When flossing your teeth it is important to insert the floss gently between the teeth. If floss is pushed up into the gum when inserting it between the teeth, it can cause damage to the gum tissue. Once the floss has been gently inserted between your teeth, move it firmly along both sides of the teeth, in an up and down motion (or ‘U’ shape), to ensure that all plaque and food debris is removed. It is often a good idea to floss teeth twice if a lot of food debris was removed, to ensure that all particles are removed from the mouth.
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Types of Floss
A number of flossing products have been made available to consumers in recent years. While conventional dental floss is still available, new products such as disposable dental flossers are now available, designed to make flossing easier. If you prefer to use conventional dental floss, it is important that you choose the right floss for you. People with wide-set teeth should opt to choose flat, wide floss when cleaning their teeth for optimal results. Thin, non-shredding floss should be used by people whose teeth are close together. Child-size flossing products are also available; making it easier for parents to assist their children with maintaining healthy teeth and gums.
Next time you brush your teeth, be sure to remember the importance of flossing for maintaining good dental hygiene.