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Why is flossing important?

Flossing is really important because it disrupts bacteria both between the teeth and below the gum line, if you’re doing it right. So that’s what we want to talk about.

I know a lot of patients really love to use these little floss picks because they’re pretty handy, they can just kind of use them while they’re driving in the car, easy throw away, no big mess– and I get that. I’m not necessarily opposed to that if you have areas where food is trapping OR if you can use these the right way, but it’s really important to do it the right way. I have a lot of patients who say, “I don’t love to floss because it makes my gums tender and it makes me bleed.” Part of that is you may not be doing it the right way.

So, what is the right way to floss?

You’re going to want to start with a long enough piece of floss, maybe 10 to 12 inches. With your dominant hand, wrap it around your index finger and then pinch it with your thumb. You’re going to hold it with your other hand and just kind of pinch it the same way. The closer you hold your fingers together, the more control you’ll have over where that floss goes.

Now what you want to do is gently seesaw it back and forth in between the teeth, then gently hug it around the tooth. It should be sliding all the way up underneath that gum line and you’re scraping it up and down a good 4 or 5 times. There are bacteria that creep up underneath the gum line that set up camp and we want to actually get that scraping motion to disrupt them and scrape them off of the tooth. Hug it against the opposite side and do the exact same thing.

A lot of people think flossing is just to get right in between the teeth so they’ll pop it through and pop it back out, but if you’re not hugging the tooth and really scraping it underneath the gum where it can hide, then you’re leaving all that bacteria behind.

If you haven’t been flossing for a while when you start this process then you’ll probably going to see bleeding for the first few days. I throw down the gauntlet, try it for 3 or 4 days and see if that bleeding doesn’t stop. If it doesn’t, definitely make an appointment to come in and see us here at Atlanta Dental Spa.

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