Flossing Teeth Properly: A User’s Guide

proper flossing

For many dental patients, it’s common to hear the phrase: you need to floss more regularly. While flossing might seem like a perfunctory part of oral hygiene, regularly flossing your teeth is one of the most important aspects of your oral care routine.

So what is the most effective way to floss your teeth for a thorough clean? There are several methods for flossing that provide top-notch results.

Let’s get started with the basics!

Flossing 101: Standard String Floss

Standard dental floss is fashioned from thin nylon string and comes in a variety of flavors. Floss may be either waxed or unwaxed based on your preference, and is typically packaged in a small plastic case. Once you’ve obtained your favorite flavor of dental floss, it’s time to start the flossing process.

Step 1: Sever between 18 and 24 inches of floss from the spool and wind the ends around the middle fingers of each hand.

Step 2: Using the thumbs and forefingers to pinch and maneuver the floss, gently guide the floss in between teeth. To avoid snapping the floss against your gums, use a gradual wiggling motion to ease the floss in between your teeth.

Step 3: Thoroughly clean teeth by guiding the floss string around the gum line in a curved motion, and then scraping detritus gently from the edge of the tooth.

Step 4: Repeat this process for all your teeth at least once a day.

Remember, if you’re just getting starting using dental floss, it’s common to experience a mild amount of bleeding and tenderness in the gums for the first few days. Additionally, make sure you brush your teeth after you floss. Bacteria loosened during the flossing process needs to be cleaned away to protect teeth from damage.

Alternative Forms of Dental Floss

Depending on the circumstances, your dentist might recommend an alternative flossing method other than standard string floss. Although there is no “correct” way to floss, some solutions may be better suited to clean appliances or sensitive teeth.

Super Floss

Individuals who have gum problems or are wearing retainers, braces, or other dental appliances may want to consider using a more heavy-duty floss brand to get the best results. Super floss is made from a soft, spongy material in the middle with stiff ends for easy threading. This design makes super floss ideal to use with braces since the floss is easy to snake underneath wires and around brackets.

Water Floss

A water flosser or a “water pick” is a method wherein pressurized water is used to clean the gaps between teeth. A water pick is a small device with a hooked nozzle that shoots a strong and thin stream of water into the mouth. Water picks are easier to use than standard dental floss, but may yield less thorough results since the water may be unable to dislodge buildup between teeth. Water picks are a great option for individuals who have extra sensitive gums or have trouble handling standard floss.

Floss Picks

Floss picks are a great option for those who have trouble with standard floss but don’t want to invest in a water pick. A floss pick is a small plastic utensil where a segment of dental floss is strung across a half-circle, much like the string on a longbow. Floss picks are disposable, but may be reused several times before they are thrown away.

What are the Benefits of Flossing?

Flossing is essential to maintain excellent oral health. One of the biggest benefits of flossing is preventing bacteria buildup that leads to cavities. But regular flossing does more than just prevent cavities.

Fresher Breath – Did you know that flossing can help improve bad breath? Bad breath (or halitosis) is often caused by small amounts of bacteria in the mouth. While brushing your teeth is a great way to remove some bacteria, germs can also hide in between teeth and in the crevices of your gums. To improve bad breath, it’s important to floss daily to get rid of any lingering bacteria that may be present.

Healthier Gums ­– Red, inflamed, and tender gums are an uncomfortable symptom of poor oral hygiene. Flossing doesn’t just clean your teeth, flossing cleans your gums too! Regular flossing improves your gum health and reduces inflammation.

Take Control of Your Dental Health Today

At Treasured Smiles, we provide our patients with top-notch dental health services encompassing a wide range of needs. Our team is dedicated to establishing trust with our patients, and we are passionate about giving you the best care possible.

In need of a routine cleaning? Our hygienists will be happy to see you. Prevent gum disease, cavities, and take care of your smile by scheduling an appointment today.