Brushing is a good way to prevent cavities, but it s only half the battle; flossing is just as important! Most cavities start between your teeth, where the bristles of your toothbrush simply can t reach. To keep your gums and teeth healthy, you must use dental floss to remove the plaque between your teeth at least once a day.

First, take about eighteen inches of floss and wind the two ends of it around your middle fingers, leaving about five inches between your hands. Pinch the floss between your thumbs and index fingers, and leave about one inch in between to work with. Gently guide the floss between the first two teeth using a side-to-side motion.

Pull the floss tightly in a C shape around the side of one tooth and slide it under the gum line. Clean the surface of the tooth by using an up-and-down motion, not the side-to-side motion you used to guide the floss between the teeth. Repeat on the adjacent tooth. Then remove the floss, wind it to a fresh section, and repeat the process to clean both sides of every tooth.

If you re just beginning to floss, your gums will probably bleed a little. The bleeding should stop after about a week of regular flossing. If you have trouble getting the floss between your teeth, or if it catches or tears, let us know as soon as possible. It could indicate a problem that needs to be corrected.