How to Floss Properly

How to Floss Properly

Even when religiously brushing our teeth twice per day, or after every meal or snack, we sometimes wonder why cavities still develop on our teeth. This is because brushing alone does not extend into the hard-to-reach areas of our mouths, resulting in trapped food particles that turn into plaque. This leads to increased growth of mouth bacteria.

To avoid this, we must get into the habit of flossing regularly. Flossing enables us to reach food particles and plaque that get stuck between and behind our teeth and prevents us from having whiter teeth. Daily flossing, preferably before bedtime, prevents plaque build-up which may later result in cavities and tooth decay.

Below are the proper flossing techniques required to maintain good oral health:

  • Begin with 18 inches of floss, and then wind two or three loops of the floss around each middle finger. Leave about six inches of floss between your fingers
  • Firmly stabilize the remaining floss with the tips of your index fingers and thumbs, leaving about half an inch of floss between your index fingers. Gently slide the floss through the contacts of your teeth.
  • Gently guide the floss down to the gum line, and move the floss back and forth and up and down to remove maximum plaque. Keep in mind to never snap or force the floss between your teeth to avoid damaging the sensitive tissues of your gums.
  • Floss each tooth thoroughly with a clean section of floss.

This technique applies to any type of floss: waxed, unwaxed, spongy floss or dental tape. If you are wondering what type of floss to use, remember that there are two types to choose from:

  • Nylon (or multifilament) floss
  • PTFE (monofilament) floss

Nylon is usually unwaxed or waxed and you may choose from different flavors. Another option is the single filament (PTFE) floss which is more expensive than nylon but has a stronger performance in terms of sliding between the teeth. It does not shred nor tear even when used in tight spaces between teeth, unlike nylon. With proper technique, any type of floss will help you remove food particles and plaque, reducing tooth decay, cavities, and tartar build-up.