Flossing teeth is as important as brushing teeth to help prevent cavities and gum disease. Flossing teeth removes plaque from areas between each tooth and around the gumline that a toothbrush doesn’t completely reach. (1)
Flossing Teeth the Right Way
Some people may not be confident that they are flossing teeth correctly. But follow these simple steps for flossing teeth and you’ll be contributing to your overall health and oral health:
- Be generous. According to the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, you should start with a length of approximately 18 inches of floss wrapped around the middle finger of each hand for flossing teeth.
- Pinch an inch. Before flossing teeth, pinch the floss between the forefinger and thumb of each hand, leaving a 1- to 2-inch length of floss to slide between the teeth.
- Slide around. Gently guide floss between the teeth by using a zigzag motion. Contour floss around the side of the tooth and slide it up and down against the tooth surface and under the gumline. As you proceed, unwrap new floss from one hand while you wrap used floss onto the other hand. (1), (2)
Find Your Flossing Teeth Fix
If flossing teeth with standard dental floss is difficult or painful for you, be sure to talk to your dentist about alternative ways of flossing teeth, you might want to try flossers. If you find that flossing teeth with floss is awkward, try individual flossers or other types of floss holders or interdental cleaners. (1), (2)
Other Tips for Flossing:
- Be careful not to push floss into the gums.
- If you’re not flossing on a regular basis, you may experience sore or bleeding gums the first several days you floss. If bleeding continues after the first week of flossing, call your dentist.
- If you have trouble handling floss, ask your dentist or hygienist about the use of a floss holder or other types of products that help you clean between your teeth in the places that your brush can't reach.