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No matter how skilled you may be at brushing, and even if you brush twice a day for two minutes at a time with a fluoride toothpaste, if you aren’t flossing at least once a day, your teeth are still at risk. Your toothbrush cannot reach between your teeth, but plaque and food debris can still build up in those places, promoting gum disease and tooth decay.

The best way to clean between your teeth is with dental floss. It doesn’t matter if you brush or floss first, just as long as you do a thorough job of both. Dental floss comes in waxed and unwaxed varieties, and many people find that waxed floss slides between teeth and around dental work more easily than unwaxed. Monofilament floss is less likely to shred when you use it than nylon floss. Start with about 18 inches of floss, and wrap most of it around each of your middle fingers. Holding one to two inches between your thumbs and forefinger. Start at your back teeth and work your way forward, flossing first below, and then away from your gumline. You should use a fresh section of floss for each tooth to avoid spreading food particles throughout your mouth. Do not re-use your floss, but dispose of it. If you have trouble holding up your arms or you have range-of-motion issues, you should talk with your dentist about using a floss threader or a water flosser.

While brushing and flossing are extremely important, they are no substitutes for seeing your dentist for your routine cleanings and exams. If you would like to make an appointment to see our dentist, Dr. Doris Madrigal at DM Family Dentistry in Round Lake Beach, Illinois, call 847-740-8827 today to start planning your visit.