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dentalflossmeasuringThere are few things simpler – yet more distressing – to a patient than dental floss. We generally assume this is because though patients know flossing is essential, they often make it through life without being provided a demonstration and specific instructions regarding best practices. If you are a patient committed to your dental hygiene and simply feel at a loss when it comes to floss, we are here to help. In addition to asking for demos during your visits, we suggest you consider frequently asked questions (and their very helpful answers) to learn how to provide exceptional care to your smile.

Questions and Answers: Flossing

Question: How much floss should I use? Should I reuse the same portion throughout my mouth?

Answer: You should never reuse floss throughout your mouth. We always suggest you use a fresh bit of floss as you move to a new pair of teeth. This will allow you to truly clean your smile, rather than transfer bacteria from one spot to the next. To ensure you have enough floss for one session, use approximately 18 inches of floss each time you clean your smile.

Question: Is there a way to stop my fingertips from falling asleep while I floss? It’s a common reason I skip flossing – it’s very uncomfortable.

Answer: Fortunately, we have a solution for this dental hygiene blunder. Rather than tightly winding the floss around your index fingers, gently wrap it around your middle fingers. Then, allow your thumbs and pointers to act as guides, keeping the floss from tightening around your fingertips.

Question: Is there a particular way I should be flossing my teeth to practice the best dental hygiene? I usually just slide the dental floss up and down.

Answer: Sliding the floss up and down is correct but only if you are bending the floss to the side, so it gently wraps in a c-shape around the side of your tooth (and then the neighboring tooth). Otherwise, though you may remove food particles, you will fail to remove plaque.