It’s really hard to implement a new habit, even one that may go hand-in-hand with the dental hygiene process you already have in place. However, if you’re not flossing at least once per day, you’re building up hardened plaque—tartar—on your teeth that is very difficult to remove. This tartar not only looks unsightly, it can also cause gum disease, cavities and even tooth loss.
Choose a floss to fit your mouth; if your teeth have a few small gaps, dental tape will probably work better than the thinner material called “floss.” Use waxed floss if you have tight restorative work or crowded teeth, and unwaxed floss if you like to really know that your teeth are clean—it will squeak!
Floss your teeth before brushing to loosen plaque before scrubbing it away. Go slowly and gently, moving the floss up and down between your teeth, making sure to go just below the gum line. The best method is to cut a piece of floss of about 18 inches and wind most of it around the tip of one finger. As you use the floss, unwind a clean section from you finger while winding the used section around the index finger of your opposite hand for optimal plaque removal.
Finally, give your teeth a thorough brushing followed by a fluoride rinse. Now you’ve got something to smile about!