How to Floss the Right Way

You know you have to floss every day, but do you know if you're flossing properly? There's a simple technique you're probably missing that leaves behind 80 to 90% of bacteria even if you're flossing every day.

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how to floss

Flossing the Right Way. I know, I know. You want to get it over with as quickly as possible. But if you’re going to floss every day, then why not make sure you’ve got the proper technique? The most common mistake people make is that they break the contact and think they’re done — meaning, they get the floss in between the teeth, and pull it straight out.

The Proper Technique for Flossing

  • Spend more time in between the teeth.
  • Hug the tooth with the floss in a C-shape by wrapping the floss around the tooth, flipping it over, and getting in there on the other side.
  • Drop the floss in below the gum line — that’s where toothbrushing can’t get. If you don’t get the floss in below the gumline without hurting yourself, then you’re not doing a good job and you’re missing up to 80% 90% of the bacteria that can cause gum disease and other systemic diseases like heart disease

Get a Demo At Every Visit to the Dentist

Each time you go in to see your hygienist or dentist, you should get a demo of proper flossing technique as well. Visualizing it will help you become a better flosser.

Hopefully that demystifies good flossing technique. You might notice a little bleeding when you start with this technique but don’t be alarmed — if you haven’t been flossing this way, the blood is from inflammation in the gums.

Mark Burhenne DDS

Read Next: If I Hate Flossing What Are My Options?

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  2. RE : Flossing.

    For each tooth how many times should I put the floss between the gum and tooth?

  3. Dr. Burhenne, what are your thoughts on using a rubber tip to get the bacteria under the gum line?

  4. It sounds like there are actually a lot of people who don’t know how to properly floss their teeth. That tip about asking a dentist to give a proper demo for proper flossing technique seems like it would be really helpful. At least I’m sure that it would work for me since I am a visual learner.

  5. Charlene Simon says:

    If you have been brushing incorrectly for 60 some years and now have receding gums and eroded enamel by the gum line, what do you do? Is there a way to improve your gums and remineralize your teeth?

  6. Jill LeBlanc says:

    Hi. I do floss almost every night, and have been using one of those Y-shaped apparatuses. It seems to do pretty well, and I wiggle it front to back to front since I can’t make a “C” around the tooth. What are your thoughts regarding these appliances? My teeth are pretty tight, and have to wrap the floss so tight around my fingers that it’s really uncomfortable, hence using the Y. Thx Dr. B.

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