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When food deposits and bacterial plaque are not removed from your teeth each day they can harden into tartar. When it forms near the gumline your chances of suffering gum disease can significantly increase.

To help prevent this from happening the American Dental Association recommends brushing twice and flossing once each day. Most people are comfortable with brushing, yet some are reticent to floss consistently. This can cause tartar to form between the teeth near the gumline.

There are several variations on dental floss, including braided nylon and microfilament. Some brands include an added flavor and offer dental floss with a wax coating. None of these variations make one type of floss more effective than the other. Finding the one that you prefer will help keep you encouraged to floss each day.

When flossing you can wrap the excess floss around your middle fingers. Grip the strand firmly between your thumb and index fingers. You can then gently slide it between the teeth. Then, you should work it around your teeth in a C shape. Try to make several small passes along the length of each tooth.

Be sure to also floss thoroughly into the gumline as well as behind each of your last molars. These areas can trap stray food material and plaque buildup.

When you are done flossing, you can rinse your mouth with an antiseptic mouthwash that has been approved by the ADA. This can help wash away loosened material and kill bacteria.

If you live in the Merced, California, area and you have flossing questions, you can call 209-205-4657 to speak to a staff member at Scott A. Smith DDS.