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Brushing your teeth is vital for your positive overall oral health. But, your toothbrush can’t do all the work on its own–brushing needs to be joined by flossing in order for your teeth to get completely clean.

Why should I floss?

Flossing cleans between teeth. Brushes clean the surfaces of teeth. Floss or other interdental cleaners clean in between the teeth where the toothbrush can’t reach very well, so flossing is a necessary addition to brushing. Mouthwash is NOT an effective substitute for flossing. 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 some other options available. Pre-strung flossers are a great option for kids who are just learning how to floss on their own, or for adults who like having the extra reach. Floss designed for sensitive gums can help those whose gums bleed often or get irritated when they floss. Water flossers are also effective, particularly if your hands have trouble maneuvering traditional dental floss.

Is there a “correct” way to floss?

Yes, and luckily, it’s simple. Take a piece of single-filament dental floss about 18 inches long. Wrap it around one finger of each hand, leaving some slack in between. Gently guide the floss in between your teeth using a careful light sawing motion, removing plaque and debris. Use a fresh section of floss between each tooth. You can floss before or after you brush, as long as they both get done.

For more information, call Mill Creek General Dentistry in Mill Creek, Washington, at 425-337-5549. Dr. Kerry Olszewski and our team look forward to helping your smile shine bright!