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April 18, 2012

Experts' Expert: "How to be a better flosser"

FlossCartoon LCarroll

In a feature in yesterday's Wall Street Journal, Heidi Mitchell interviewed Dr. Denis F. Kinane, professor of pathology and periodontics at the University of Pennsylvania's Penn Dental Medicine, about the fine points of flossing.


1. Brush before flossing — but if you can only do one or the other, brushing is a better use of your time.

2. If you floss only once a day, you'll get more benefit in terms of decay prevention by doing so before bed. 

3. The biggest mistake people make when flossing is sawing back and forth — floss motion should be down and up.

4. Move the floss so as to use a fresh segment for each tooth — this avoids reintroducing plaque from already flossed teeth.

5. Waxed or unwaxed doesn't matter in terms of efficacy.

6. Ribbon and string both work — ribbon reaches more of the tooth surface.

7. Rinsing, even with mouth wash, simply can't reach areas between teeth and under the gum line like floss.

April 18, 2012 at 10:01 AM | Permalink


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And the final step, waterpik.

Posted by: Kay | Apr 18, 2012 1:25:00 PM

My father-in-law, a dentist, recommends that you get your floss out of the bathroom. Put it next to your TV, so that you'll spend more time flossing.

Posted by: Dean | Apr 18, 2012 10:26:43 AM

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