Every time you visit the dentist for your 6-month cleaning, you are sure to receive a lecture on flossing! As easy as it is to dismiss the topic, making flossing a regular part of your oral hygiene routine is perhaps the most crucial thing you can do to protect your smile. What most people do not realize is that a piece of floss takes care of nearly half of the work necessary to get rid of all the decay-causing bacteria. When you are not proactive about removing this plaque, it is almost guaranteed that you will get gum disease. When you do not protect your gums, it actually makes the overall look of your face more aged because gum disease eats away at the bones that support the structure of your face. So by flossing, you can actually help reverse the signs of aging!

             So now that you are convinced that you need to floss every single day, how do decide which floss would be best for you? Most brands of floss will consist of Teflon or nylon, and both work great for most people. If the spaces between your teeth are wider or if your gums are receeding, try to choose a flat, thicker dental tape. If you do not have very much space between each tooth, a thinner floss will do the job. If you have braces or a bridge, you may need a different kind of floss to get into all of the hard-to-reach places. In this case, it might be best to purchase a floss threader. Regardless of the type of floss you use, simply adding this step into your oral hygiene routine can make all of the difference, both health-wise and cosmetically!

            Try to use a piece of floss that is between 15-18 inches long and curve the piece around each tooth in a C-shape, working the floss all the way up and down the space. Don’t let bleeding stop you from flossing, as it means that the plaque has caused your gums to flare up and it needs to be cleaned away. If the bleeding persists, see your dentist because it may mean that you have perdiodontal disease.

             If you start flossing now, your dentist will notice the difference at your next cleaning appointment and perhaps you can save yourself the lecture!