How to Floss Your Teeth

To help prevent tooth decay and gum disease, it is also important to remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth and under the gumline on a daily basis. By taking a few minutes to gently floss the teeth once a day, children and adults can reduce their risk of dental disease.

At a routine checkup visit, the dentist or dental hygienist will demonstrate the proper technique for flossing between the teeth. There are a number of varieties of dental floss and all can effectively remove plaque and food from between the teeth. According to a study published in the Journal of Periodontology, the type of dental floss selected is often a matter of personal choice. However, in certain circumstances one kind of dental floss may be preferable over another. In cases where the teeth are crowded, a waxed dental floss may work best. However, if there are spaces between the teeth, dental tape or super floss may be more comfortable and effective. Some people prefer disposable flossers with a plastic handle and a section of attached dental floss, while others use floss threaders or electric flossers to clean between the teeth.

The Proper Technique For Flossing Your Teeth

Whatever type dental floss is selected, proper technique is important to effectively remove plaque and food particles without injuring the delicate tissues around the teeth.

For floss that is taken off a roll or from a dispenser, a good length to use is about 18 inches.

  • Wind the floss around the index fingers of each hand until a few inches of floss remains between them.
  • Holding the floss between the index finger and thumb, glide it gently between the teeth and down to the gumline. Hugging the side of one tooth in a “C” shape, slowly move the floss up and down along the base of the tooth to remove any trapped plaque and food particles.
  • Do the same to the adjacent side of the next tooth and continue around the mouth until all of the teeth as well as the space behind the last tooth are all flossed.
  • Release clean floss from one hand, while winding the used floss around the index finger of the other hand.

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