Magnified image of used dental floss. Photo credit: Steve Gschmeissner/Science Photo Library
Removing plaque and food from all surfaces of your teeth on a daily basis is an effective way to reduce your risk of gum disease and tooth decay.
Brushing alone only cleans about two-thirds of your teeth. Daily flossing removes food debris and plaque between the teeth as well as prevents plaque from forming at the gum line. If plaque is left on the teeth it will eventually harden into tartar. Tartar can only be removed through a professional cleaning. Plaque and tartar build up can lead to tooth decay and gum disease .
Add flossing to your daily dental routine to prevent disease and enjoy better dental health. It's never too late to start.
While flossing before bedtime is preferred, the most important thing you can do is to floss at least once a day. Find a time that works for you and that you can maintain as part of your daily routine.
Your gums may bleed when you first start to floss. It may take a few days but with regular flossing this should stop. If bleeding persists after a week or two, speak to your dentist.
Be gentle. Gently move the floss between and around your teeth to avoid damaging your gums.
Floss between all your teeth and behind your back teeth.
Ask your dentist for flossing tips and talk to your dentist about the different flossing options available such as a floss holders, dental tape, water flossers or interproximal brushes.