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Even if you are a champion brusher and a connoisseur of mouthwashes, no amount of brushing and rinsing can clean between your teeth. But cleaning those areas is extremely important, since food particles and plaque can accumulate in between your teeth. If those substances aren’t removed, you will run the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. If you have a container of dental floss sitting in your medicine cabinet gathering dust, then it is time to dust it off and take it out for a spin.

You need to floss at least once a day, and many people do it just before bed. Start with 18 inches of floss, and wrap most of it around each middle finger. Hold one to two inches between your thumb and fore finger. Then, curve the floss around the tooth and floss below, and then away from your gumline. Start with your back teeth and work your way toward the front. Use a fresh section of floss for each tooth, otherwise you will only spread bacteria around your mouth. Dispose of the floss when you are finished. It doesn’t matter if you brush or floss first, as long as you do a thorough job of both. They type of floss you use is a matter of personal preference. Many people find that waxed floss does a better job of getting between teeth and around dental work than unwaxed, and monofilament floss is less prone to shredding than nylon floss.

Brushing and flossing are the foundations of good dental health. But they are not substitutes for regular dental visits. You need to see your dentist every six months for a cleaning and exam. This will give your dentist the chance to remove the plaque and tartar that you may have missed while brushing, and to check your mouth and teeth for things like cavities and gum disease. If you live in the Silver Spring, Maryland area and it is time for your routine dental visit, our dentist, Dr. Faith Cousins will be happy to see you! You can call 301-589-2714 to schedule an appointment.