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If residual food particles and plaque are not effectively removed through twice-daily brushing and flossing, they will eventually harden into tartar. Tartar is a hard substance with a high bacterial density. Constant bacterial exposure at the gum line can cause sensitive gum tissues to become inflamed and even infected.  

The American Dental Association and Dr. Michael Hall both recommend that you brush and floss your teeth twice a day. Flossing immediately after brushing is the most effective way to clean between teeth.  Should hardened tartar form near the gum line, it very easily could cause you to develop gum disease.

Gum disease starts out as gingivitis. Most people with gingivitis have gums that can bleed easily when brushing and flossing, as well as issues with chronic bad breath. In many cases, your gums might also look red or inflamed. Flossing between the teeth and along the gum line is the most effective method for removing plaque and food particles before they can harden into tartar.

Of course the act of flossing is more than simply moving the strand back and forth between your teeth. The ideal flossing technique starts by wrapping excess floss around your middle fingers. Then, firmly grip a small section of floss between your thumb and index fingers. Work the floss around your teeth in a U shape and gently clear the space between the teeth and your gum line. Be sure to also floss behind your back teeth.

Once you are done brushing and flossing your teeth, you can vigorously rinse your mouth with antiseptic mouthwash. While antiseptic mouthwash does help remove previously loosened food particles and kill bacteria, it cannot replace the ability of dental floss to remove these materials from your mouth.

If you have concerns about your flossing technique or gum disease, we invite you to call our Central Oregon Dental Center team in Bend, Oregon at 541-389-0300 to set up a consultation.