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How to Floss Your Teeth

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Step 6: Floss teeth

Picture of Floss teeth
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Curve the floss against the tooth surface, maximizing surface contact between the floss and your teeth. Rub the floss up and down against the tooth surface, sliding from the tooth contact point up into the gum line and back.

Work the floss against one tooth then against the adjacent tooth, shifting your grip and direction as you move to the next tooth surface. Be careful not to damage the gum tissue between the teeth (called the papilla) as you shift the floss.

Pop the floss back out between the tooth contact, removing any dislodged debris, and move along to the next spot. Any remaining debris may need to be pushed out with a tool like a Stimudent, Proxibrush, or dental irrigator.

It's best to start from one spot and work systematically through your mouth to be sure you don't miss any teeth. Be sure to include the back side of your last molars as well.

Note: some adjacent teeth may not actually make contact. Be extra careful cleaning these spaces, as they are particularly prone to collecting food. You should consult your dentist about any open contacts, as he or she may advise closing these open contacts.
 
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