2003-12-03 / Medical

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Dental Health

Gary S. Rafal, D.D.S.

Importance Of Flossing

The function of dental floss is to clean the surfaces of teeth that cannot be reached by the toothbrush. The floss is stretched between the fingers, which are placed inside and outside the teeth. It is then gently slipped between the teeth - not snapped through. Snapping can injure the gum tissue, so it is important to ease rather than force the floss - through. The floss should then be worked three or four times up and down in a scraping motion, without rubbing the gum. It should not be pulled back and forth. This "sawing" action causes undue wear.

Flossing is a skill that takes some practice. Eventually one’s fingers get a "feel" for what they are doing. Floss holders can make it easier, but they are not necessary for anyone with normal dexterity. As long as you can hold the floss taut, you can learn. Even a skilled flosser has difficulty where contacts between the teeth are very tight or fray the nylon. If this occurs these problems may be eliminated by scaling the teeth or by smoothing or replacing defective fillings.

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