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Many people may consider flossing to be a no-brainer. Pull some floss out of the holder, run it between your teeth and you’re done, right? It may be true that flossing is not the hardest concept to grasp, but it is an important part of your oral hygiene regimen, and there is a right way to do it.

Even if you brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes at a time, there are still spaces between your teeth and below your gumline where food particles, plaque and tartar can build up and cause tooth decay and gum disease. Flossing is an excellent way to make sure that those substances are removed.

One question many people have is whether they should brush or floss first. The truth of the matter is that as long as you do a thorough job of both, the order doesn’t matter. Another question many people ask is whether they should use waxed or unwaxed floss. While the waxed version will help the floss slide between your teeth, it really is a matter of personal preference. However, if you wear braces, waxed floss is a better choice.

To start, use about 18 inches of floss. You will need that much to so that as you move along your teeth and gumline, you will be able to use a fresh section of floss each time. You will want to wrap about a third of the floss around each of your index fingers and pull it tight. Then it is a simple matter of sliding the floss between your teeth, working from your molars to your front teeth. Make sure that when you floss by your gums, curve the floss around your tooth to make sure you reach below the gumline.

Floss-threaders can help people who wear braces; and older people, or those who may have issues with moving their arms or have range-of motion problems should consider using a water flosser.

Ideally, you should floss at least once a day, and many people floss before bedtime. Even if you do brush twice a day and floss once per day, you should still make regular appointments to see our dentist, Dr. Shay Markovitch at Wappingers Falls Dental Arts in Wappingers Falls, New York, for regular cleanings and exams Good dental hygiene is essential, but it does not replace a visit to your dentist.