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Using dental floss correctly: That's how it works!

Photo: artisticco / iStock

Is dental floss harmful? Not if you use them correctly

More and more people claim that flossing is harmful. "Completely nonsense, " says dentist dr. Hendrik Felke. He explains what matters when flossing is used.

Lately we hear it again and again: flossing can be harmful to the teeth! But our dentist keeps telling us we should use dental floss ..?

That's why we asked. Dr. Hendrik Felke, dentist from Berlin, explains how we use dental floss correctly:

"Floss cleans the areas in the mouth that the toothbrush can not reach, and rinsing alone is not enough.

Imagine: If, for example, you eat chips with ketchup on a plate and want to wash it off later, you need a sponge because the dried ketchup does not simply dissolve in the water basin. So you wipe the ketchup from the plate with the sponge. This sponge symbolizes the floss that wipes away biofilm, plaque, and food particles in the interdental spaces. Biofilm and plaque stick to the tooth and can not be wiped away by rinsing, as in the ketchup example.

If plaque and food particles are not removed for a long time, they will mineralize and form tartar. This mixture of plaque, food debris and tartar can now protect dangerous bacteria and reproduce unhindered. These bacteria lead to bleeding gums and gum recession. If these bacteria are unnoticed for many years, they can also lead to bone loss, heart attack, stroke or premature birth and increase diseases such as diabetes and rheumatism.

Here are 7 tips for proper use of dental floss:

1. Use enough floss: Take about 30 centimeters and gently wrap it around your two index fingers.

2. Carefully slide the floss into the interdental space: Carefully slide the stretched floss between your index fingers into the interdental space; if in the space, remove the tension from the floss

3. Slip 1-2 mm under the gums: Now carefully place the floss under the gum line, the first 1-2 mm of the gum line are on the tooth and are not firmly grown.

4. Increase pressure on the tooth: Now, tighten the floss around the tooth without slipping further into the gum to give you the best possible wiping effect.

5. Toward the tooth crown: By sliding towards the tooth crown, wipe the plaque and food particles out of the niche.

6. Continue rolling the floss piece by piece: Wrap your floss around your fingers a bit further for each space between the teeth . So you always have a fresh piece of dental floss for your interdental spaces and do not carry off any bacteria.

7. Use a slightly thicker floss: This reduces the risk of cutting your fingers or injuring yourself in the interdental space.

These are the 5 biggest mistakes when using dental floss:

1. Too much force: they use too much force to get into the interdental space and intersect into the gums. My tip: slide in a slight outward movement to the left or right into the interdental space.

2. Saw movements: In the interdental space move the floss several times to the right and left. With this movement, you can remove only very large residues from the interdental space and increase the risk of injuring the gums or even permanent damage to the tooth. My tip: Place the floss carefully under the edge of the gum line (the first 1-2 mm of the gum line are resting on the tooth and are not tight), then gently increase the pressure on the tooth and pull the floss towards the tooth crown.

3. Too impatient: Do not just go into the interdental space and pull out the floss again. My advice: Take half the second and clean slightly below the gum line, the added value is enormous.

4. Only once in the interdental space: The interdental space adjoin two teeth, so please go twice in this room to clean both sides of the respective teeth. My tip: Just change the piece of floss between the two steps, then forget about the tooth surface.

Flossing only once a week: Many think that flossing should be much less used than a toothbrush. A mistake! My tip: Use floss once a day, whether in the morning, at noon or in the evening. It is important that you use the floss at all, so that no dangerous bacteria can form. "