Each tooth has five surfaces, two of which cannot be cleaned by regular brushing alone. That’s when dental floss comes to the rescue!
Brushing removes sticky bacteria (plaque) from the tooth surfaces you can see, but brushing alone cannot reach between the teeth. Plaque left on any tooth surface can lead to tooth decay as well as sore, swollen, bleeding, or infected gums. Gum problems can happen fast – sometimes in a few days – and if left untreated, can lead to more serious gum disease or tooth loss.
Dental floss is an inexpensive way to prevent tooth decay and to maintain a clean and healthy mouth. There are many types of floss to choose from – waxed, unwaxed, flavored, or dental tape. Select any brand or type that works best for you and your child. Flossing can be done anytime and anywhere. The best outcomes will occur when flossing is done every day. Here are some tips parents can use to help their child floss correctly:
Use a 12-18-inch length of your preferred type of floss.
Wrap most of the floss around your middle finger, but not too tightly!
Hold the floss firmly between your thumbs and index fingers and gently work the floss between two teeth.
Work the floss back and forth against one tooth down to the gumline, then work the floss back up. Repeat the same action on the tooth next to the one just cleaned.
Repeat between each tooth until all teeth have been cleaned.
Combine flossing with regular tooth brushing for the best overall health benefits.
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