hands holding dental floss container

A Complete Guide to Flossing Teeth

TeamDental Floss

Flossing is just as important as brushing when it comes to maintaining your oral health. No matter how well you brush, you just can’t reach those spaces between the teeth, making them prone to tooth decay without a daily flossing. If you don’t floss your teeth every single day, it’s time to start. Here’s everything you need to know.

Choosing Floss

Flossing doesn’t have to mean using dental floss! If you’re not a fan, consider a water flosser or dental picks, which can also help you clean between your teeth—and may make it easier if you have orthodontics or conditions that make it physically difficult to use traditional dental floss. We’re happy to help you find adaptive aids, if needed—simply ask us during your next comprehensive evaluation.

Even with traditional floss, you have a number of choices to make. There’s waxed floss and unwaxed; flavored and plain. From the perspective of a dentist, all of these varieties are equally effective, so choose what feels most comfortable to you. These days, you can even find floss with flavors like watermelon, chocolate, and passion fruit—you might even find yourself looking forward to your daily flossing session!

When to Floss

According to the American Dental Association, it doesn’t matter when you floss—just that you do it at least once a day. We agree, but we do encourage you to floss at night if at all possible because this allows you to remove the bits of food and plaque that have accumulated in your mouth throughout the day before going to bed. You’ll likely also have more time at night when you’re not in a rush to get out the door for work or school.

You can also floss before or after you brush your teeth. Whatever feels best or makes it easy for you to remember will work.

How to Floss

In theory, everyone knows how to floss. It’s simple, right? In practice, a lot of people don’t do a great job because they hurry through the process and aren’t thorough. Here’s how to floss the correct way:

  • Start with about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around a finger; wind the remaining floss on the same finger on the opposite hand.
  • Hold the floss between your thumbs and forefingers.
  • Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle back-and-forth motion.
  • Once the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C-shape against one tooth and slide it into the space between the tooth and gum.
  • Hold the floss against the tooth and gently rub the side of the tooth, moving away from the gum with up and down motions. Repeat until you have cleaned between all of your teeth.

That’s all there is to it! Do this once a day to prevent gum disease and tooth decay.

Schedule an Appointment at Emerson Dental

Do you have questions about flossing? We’re happy to show you the proper flossing technique during your next comprehensive oral evaluation and dental cleaning visit. Contact us today to schedule an appointment at one of our two locations.