Your teeth can last a lifetime if you practice basic dental care, which involves brushing and flossing regularly, eating a mouth-healthy diet, and visiting your dentist and/or dental hygienist for regular checkups and cleanings. Developing good dental health habits is the best way to prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
When you brush your teeth:
Floss at least once a day. The type of floss you use is not important. Choose the type and flavor you like best. When you floss your teeth, use any of the following methods:
Gently work the floss between the teeth toward the gums. Curve the floss around each tooth into a U-shape and gently slide it under the gum line. Move the floss firmly up and down several times to scrape off the plaque. Popping the floss in and out between the teeth without scraping will not remove much plaque and can hurt your gums.
A plastic flossing tool makes flossing easier. Child-size flossing tools are available for parents to use to floss their children's teeth. They are available at most drugstores.
If your gums bleed when you floss, the bleeding should stop as your gums become healthier and tighter next to your teeth.
Current as of: May 7, 2017
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2018 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Donations to UW Health are managed by the University of Wisconsin Foundation, a publicly supported charitable organization under 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.