Harrisburg, PA Dentist
Ernest Fontaine DDS
4221 Derry St
Harrisburg, PA 17111

(717) 564-1310
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By Ernest Fontaine, D.D.S.
February 10, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: flossing   oral health  

Dental hygiene is engrained into most everyone’s morning and nighttime routines. However, flossing sometimes tends to take the flossingbackseat to brushing. Whether due to being an added step to your hygiene routine or simply forgetting the step altogether, only about 21% of adults floss their teeth regularly. Your Harrisburg, PA dentist is here to help you understand the importance of this crucial part of your dental routine.

Why is flossing important? 
It is a common misconception that flossing is important simply to remove left behind food particles from the teeth. While this is true, flossing’s main purpose is to remove plaque which has formed on and between the teeth. Bacteria live on the teeth’s surfaces. When the layer of bacteria is not knocked away by brushing, it builds up, forming plaque, a soft and sticky layer which attaches to the teeth. Plaque causes tooth decay and gum disease. These conditions cause significant dental problems and even tooth and bone loss. Flossing pulls plaque out of hard-to-reach areas between the teeth, minimizing the chance of decay or gum disease forming.

What is the correct way to floss? 
While you should brush twice daily, dentists recommend flossing at least once. Using about 18 to 20 inches of floss, wind each end of the floss around one finger on each hand. Pulling the floss taught, move it in gentle up and down motions between each tooth. Angling the floss around the tooth’s base, come up the tooth high enough to reach under the gum line. Move the floss down your fingers as you work, using a fresh stretch of floss for each tooth. Additionally, be sure to floss the back side of your last molar. If you have dental appliances like a bridge or a permanent retainer, special threader floss is available to string beneath or between the appliance to floss underneath or behind it.

The best way to prevent tooth decay and gum disease is to commit to regular dental examinations and cleanings. This ensures problems with your teeth are caught early and any plaque and tartar you may have missed is removed before causing further damage. For more information on flossing and regular dental examinations, please contact Dr. Ernest Fontaine, D.D.S. in Harrisburg, PA. Call (717) 564-1310 to schedule your appointment today!