Start with a full foot of floss, twirling the ends around the middle finger on each hand. Use your thumb and forefinger to gently work the floss between two teeth, being careful not to pull it roughly or saw it back and forth, both of which can injure the gum. Wrap the floss around one tooth and wipe up and down to loosen and remove plaque. Then do the same on the next tooth and repeat.
Once you’ve got the correct flossing technique down, you don’t have to do it standing at the sink, notes Lenchner. You might try flossing in front of the TV to make it feel like less of a chore.
You don’t rinse after.
Effective brushing and flossing unbind bacteria-laden plaque from the surface of teeth. Rinsing afterward is a key step to make sure that bacteria leave your mouth for good. Swish with a germ-killing, alcohol-free mouthwash. Or use a fluoride rinse to strengthen and fortify tooth enamel and prevent cavities. If you don’t have mouthwash, a good rinse-and-spit with water is better than nothing.
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