If you are among the 50% of Americans who don’t floss, it’s time to start! Dig through your bathroom drawer and find the little container of floss you got at your last dental appointment and get started. Here’s how:
• Start with about 18 inches of floss, winding one end around one of your middle fingers and the rest around the middle finger of your other hand. Hold the floss between the index finger and thumb of each hand.
• Make sure the floss is taut before you slide it into the space between your teeth and gums and move along the side of each tooth in a C shape. Repeat on all your teeth – don’t forget the back ones.
• Be thorough, yet gentle. You don’t want to injure your gums by pressing too hard on the floss.
You can choose the type of floss that works best for you – waxed, unwaxed or floss made of a synthetic fiber similar to Gore-Tex. If you have braces or another dental appliance, you might use a needle-type floss that can be pushed though spaces in between dental work.
If you have trouble working with strings of floss, you can buy a plastic holder. The holder has a line of floss between two plastic prongs, making it easier to maneuver and handle.
Remember, it’s important to brush and floss daily. According to the American Academy of General Dentistry, flossing is the best thing you can do to prevent plaque, tooth decay and gum disease. So, start today!