calculus and plaqueMost cavities and periodontal disease begin between the teeth. While brushing is important, the bristles of your brush simply can’t reach between the teeth.

To keep your gums and teeth healthy, you must remove the plaque between your teeth at least once a day. That’s why our Houston dentist recommends dental floss.

Don’t worry about the type of floss; they all work pretty much the same.holding a dental floss

Wind about 18 inches of floss around the middle fingers of each hand, leaving about 5 inches between your hands. Pinch the floss between your thumbs and index fingers and leave about one inch in between to work with. Gently guide the floss down between the teeth, using a side-to-side motion.

If your teeth are too tight to floss, or if the floss catches or tears, let our Houston dentist know about it. These are problems that need to be fixed.

flossing a toothPull the floss tightly into a C shape around the side of the tooth and slide it under the gum line. Clean the surface of the tooth by using an up-and-down motion, not side-to-side, until the surface is clean.

When all the plaque has been removed, the floss will squeak as it rubs against your teeth. Pull the floss around the next tooth and repeat the process. Wind the floss to a fresh section and gradually work your way around your mouth, cleaning both sides of every tooth.

If you have problems reaching some areas, you might want to use a floss fork. If your gums are infected, they’ll bleed when you floss. That’s to be expected if you are just beginning to floss. After a week or so of regular flossing the bleeding should go away.diagram of the flossing technique

Now you know why brushing your teeth is only half the battle. Most cavities and periodontal disease start between the teeth where your toothbrush just can’t reach.