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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Hi, I’m Dr. B, practicing functional dentist for 35 years. I graduated from the Dugoni School of Dentistry in San Francisco, CA in 1987 and am a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM), Academy of General Dentistry (Chicago, IL), American Academy for Oral Systemic Health (AAOSH), and Dental Board of California. I'm on a mission to empower people everywhere with the same evidence-based, easy-to-understand dental health advice that my patients get. Learn more about Dr. B

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

Learn More: If I Hate Flossing What Are My Options?