The most important and effective way to take care of your teeth is through regular brushing and flossing. These everyday activities keep your teeth clean and free of plaque and tartar that can cause decay. They also help keep your gums healthy and prevent the onset of gingivitis. Combined with regular dental visits, brushing and flossing help you maintain the best possible oral health. [pullquote]The major purpose of flossing is to remove food particles from between the teeth and just under the gum line.[/pullquote]

What Flossing Does

The major purpose of flossing is to remove food particles from between the teeth and just under the gum line. These areas cannot be adequately cleaned with a toothbrush alone, as the bristles of the brush cannot reach all the way between the teeth.

If left alone, food particles serve as nourishment for bacteria that collect in the mouth. These bacteria create acidic waste products that eventually becoming tartar and plaque. The acid content can eat through the tooth enamel, leading to severe decay.

Flossing also helps stimulate the gum tissue to keep it healthy and free of inflammation.

Proper Flossing Technique

Many people, although they floss regularly, do not use the proper technique. Flossing correctly is very important if you are to truly keep your gums healthy and clean. Your dentist can demonstrate proper flossing technique if you are unsure how to floss in the most effective way.

You must use about eighteen inches of floss in order to be able to hold it firmly as you maneuver it between the teeth. Wrapping both ends of the floss around your fingers, you slide the floss between the teeth in a zig-zagging motion, making sure to floss just below the gum line and all along the sides of the teeth.

If you have difficulty maneuvering the floss correctly, you can ask the dentist about other options. Plastic floss holders provide a sufficient length of floss that is easier to use if you have reduced mobility or are simply more comfortable using a holder rather than just a length of floss.

If you would like more information on the best ways to keep your teeth and gums healthy, please contact the Toronto office of Dr. Nicholas Kemp at 416-922-1012 to schedule an appointment.