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Fact: Flossing Isn't Optional

Flossing breaks up the bacteria colonies that constantly multiply in your mouth, especially in the places where the toothbrush can’t reach. “Brushing but not flossing is sort of like washing only the tops of your hands,” says Dr. Sahota. Floss at least once a day. At the gumline, curve the floss into a C-shape and slide it against each tooth in up and down motions. If this feels awkward, try pre-threaded floss holders, interdental picks or electric flossers. Water picks may help if you have gum disease (your dentist can prescribe antibacterial solutions to use in them) or have braces, which hide food. Still, they aren't a substitute for flossing because they don’t remove plaque, according to the Academy of General Dentistry.

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