Why are teeth important?

Your teeth come in different shapes and sizes to allow them to carry out many different roles, from chewing and grinding food to helping make sounds clearly. The teeth are involved in the breakdown of food and are also instrumental in the formation of sounds for speaking clearly. The teeth also give support to the cheeks and lips. A healthy, attractive smile is an important asset and it's essential to keep your teeth strong and healthy.

How should I clean between my teeth?

It can be tricky cleaning between the teeth because the gaps are often too small to reach with a toothbrush. Flossing is an effective means of cleaning tooth gaps and removing food particles and plaque, also targeting the gum line where it can also be difficult to clean with a toothbrush.

Tips for flossing:

  • Break off around 18 inches of dental floss and move the floss through the tooth cracks, keeping the floss between the middle fingers of both hands to keep it stable.
  • Guide the floss gently through the gaps, but do not pull or jerk the floss.
  • Hold the floss between the thumb and forefinger and curve the floss into the shape of the letter C against the line of the gum. Gently pull the floss against the side of the teeth and move the floss away from the gums.
  • Try to floss all over the mouth and take care not to neglect the teeth at the rear of the mouth.
  • Try to stick to a regular pattern when flossing as this will make it easier to include all the teeth.

You will need to floss if you have a dental bridge or dental implants. There are special types of floss which are easier to use, and your dentist will be able to counsel you on how to floss and recommend suitable products.

Will the gums bleed after flossing?

When you first start flossing it is common for the gums to bleed, but they should not bleed once you are used to flossing. If your gums carry on bleeding you should see your dentist.

What should I do if I find it tricky to floss?

If you are finding it difficult to floss see your dental hygienist or dentist, as they will be able to offer professional advice and guidance. Your dentist may also suggest using inter-dental brushes and and/or a floss holder.

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