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Brushing your teeth is important for the success of your overall oral health, but your toothbrush can’t do all the work on its own. Brushing needs to be joined by flossing daily in order for your teeth to get totally clean.

Why should I floss?

Brushing cleans the surfaces of your teeth; flossing cleans between teeth. Floss or other interdental cleaners clean in between the teeth where the brush can’t reach. Mouthwash is an ineffective substitute for flossing, and therefore cannot stand in. For the best clean, use all three–brushing, flossing and mouthwash.

Are there any substitutes?

If you have trouble with using traditional dental floss, there are alternatives available to you. Which you choose will depend on personal preference and recommendations from your dentist. Pre-strung flossers can be a good option, especially for kids who are just learning how to floss on their own. Floss for sensitive gums can help those whose gums bleed or get irritated when they floss (this can also happen due to inconsistent flossing; usually flossing every day will help that go away). Water flossers are also a good option, particularly for those with arthritis or other whose hands have trouble maneuvering traditional dental floss.

How do I use traditional floss?

Take a piece of single-filament dental floss about 18 inches long. Wrap it around two fingers (one finger of each hand), leaving some slack in between. Gently guide the floss in between your teeth using a careful sawing motion, removing plaque and debris as you go.

For more information, call Stanley Hometown Dentistry LLC in Stanley, Wisconsin, at 715-644-3601. Dr. James Gunelson and our team look forward to helping your smile shine!