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By now you already know that a beautiful smile begins with a healthy foundation. Daily brushing and flossing are the basics to a cavity-free, gum disease-free smile.

While you need to brush your teeth at least twice each day, you only need to floss once a day, preferably before bedtime when you are finished eating for the day. The goal is to remove food particles and bacterial plaque from between the teeth. These are areas where your toothbrush can’t clean.

Today, we would like to review some flossing essentials for your smile:

— If you are using dental wax or floss, please take out a strip with is about 18 inches long from your floss dispenser.

— Next, you will want to wind the floss around the middle fingers of your both your hands. You can leave a 1-inch piece open to floss with.

— Begin by flossing your top teeth. Put the floss into your mouth, and push it gently between the teeth to clean, using your index fingers.

— You want to slide the floss up and down, holding it against the tooth, move up and around your gum line. Create a C-shape around each tooth using your floss.

— Be sure to floss behind the back of the teeth as well as in between each tooth.

— Please use a clean area of the floss for each tooth, winding the used floss around your fingers, until all of your teeth are clean.

When you are finished brushing and flossing, you can rinse your mouth with an antiseptic mouthwash once a day to kill the harmful bacteria which causes plaque buildup and results in gum disease. If you are cavity prone, you might consider using a fluoride rinse.

To keep your smile in tip top condition, practice excellent oral hygiene every day, and see your dentist every six months for checkups and cleanings. To schedule your next visit, please give our Truman Village Dental team a call at 816-569-9800. Dr. Tiffany Teegarden and Dr. Jaclyn Turnbow in Independence, Missouri, want to help you maintain your healthy, confident smile!