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Flossing

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Flossing

Throw your teeth a lifeline

Dental flossBrushing cleans top and bottom, front and back. But how about in between? That's where flossing comes in. Make time to get the hidden bits of food out from between your teeth. Regular flossing reduces bad breath and tooth decay. It’s really good for your gums too.

Profit from floss

Plaque build-up can lead to gum disease and tooth decay. Brushing deals with the plaque you can see. Flossing takes care of the plaque that hides under the gumline.

Flossing facts

If you haven't flossed for a while, your early attempts might cause your gums to bleed a little. Don't panic. Your gums will get used to flossing pretty quickly and the bleeding should stop. If it doesn’t, check with your dental professional. 

You don't have to get yourself in a tangle trying to floss. If you just can’t get the hang of it, talk to your dental professional and maybe consider interdental or interproximal brushes if you have bridges or crowns.

How to floss

You might feel a bit awkward the first few times. However once you get the hang of it, you'll find it's really quick and easy. Grab some dental floss now and you can practice as you read these steps.

  1. You'll need a piece of floss about 40cm long, but only use a small section at a time. Wrap both ends around the second finger of each hand until they're about 6cm apart.
  2. Place one finger inside your mouth and guide the floss into the gap between two teeth. By gently sliding the floss back and forth you will be able to ease it down to just below the gum level.
  3. Wrap the floss around one side of the tooth and use a wiping action to remove bits of food or plaque.
  4. Use a new section of floss, pop it back in the same spot and wipe the tooth on the other side of the gap.

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Last updated: 10 November 2008