PROPER FLOSSING TECHNIQUE
Pull out about 18 inches of floss, wrapping the ends around your fingertips for better control. Gently slide the floss between your teeth, being careful not to jam it into your sensitive gums. Curve the floss around each tooth and rub it up and down to scrape away plaque. Avoid sawing motions with the floss -- that can hurt your gums. When you're done, throw away the used floss. It can fray during use and collect bacteria. Rinse with mouthwash and brush your teeth [source: ADA].
Flossing Helps Prevent Other Diseases
Tooth and gum disease can have effects that go far beyond discolored teeth, discomfort or bad breath. Extensive research has shown that the bacteria that flourish in an unhealthy mouth can harm the rest of the body, leading to heart disease, diabetes and respiratory illness. This is such a significant issue that, in 2003, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began calling for public health initiatives to address oral health as a step toward addressing these potentially life-threatening systemic diseases: conditions that affect multiple organs and body systems [sources: CDC, CDA].
Flossing Prevents Tartar Buildup
Few parts of a regular dental visit are as uncomfortable as the scraping the dentist or hygienist must do to remove tartar. Tartar is a hard buildup of plaque that forms around the gum line. Once it's there, it can't be removed without professional help. But thanks to floss, health-conscious individuals have a powerful tool to fight this stubborn problem. Flossing allows you to remove the plaque that causes tartar while it's in its early form: sticky, but soft and pliable. Since plaque doesn't harden into tartar until it's been undisturbed for a period of time, regular flossing can keep buildup from happening.