How to Properly Floss: A Step-by-Step Guide for Better Oral Hygiene

Oral hygiene and health care. Smiling women using dental floss white healthy teeth.

Brushing is a fundamental part of your dental routine, but flossing plays an equally important role in keeping your teeth and gums in top-notch condition. Flossing removes food particles and plaque between your teeth, which your toothbrush can’t reach effectively. It only takes a couple minutes, and it’s a valuable time investment to protect your smile. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you floss properly.

How to Floss Properly

There are various types of string dental floss available. From nylon, woven, waxed, unwaxed, or flavored, it’s important to select your floss based on your preference and needs. While floss picks are handy for on-the-go, for regular oral hygiene, string floss will be more effective. However, the best floss is the one you will use daily. Once you’ve selected your dental floss, you can follow these five easy steps.

  • Step 1: Cut an Adequate Length

  • Take about 18 to 24 inches of floss and loop it around your middle fingers. Leave an inch or two in between to work with.

  • Step 2: Hold the Floss Correctly

  • Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and index fingers, leaving a small gap in between. This will give you the control you need to navigate around your teeth.

  • Step 3: Gently Glide Between the Curves of the Teeth

  • Glide the floss gently between your teeth, hugging it around the base of each tooth in a “c” shape. As you curve the floss around the teeth, gently wiggle the floss up and down as you slide slightly beneath the gumline to remove plaque or food that may be lodged there. Be careful not to roughly snap the floss against your gums, as this can cause irritation or bleeding. Check out this video for more help.

  • Step 4: Use a Clean Section for Each Tooth

  • As you move from tooth to tooth, unwind a fresh section of floss. Using the same section can transfer debris from one area to another.

  • Step 5: Rinse and Dispose

  • Once you’ve flossed between all your teeth, rinse your mouth with water to wash away loosened debris. Dispose of the used floss properly. In your evening routine, it’s a good idea to floss and then brush.

Preventive Dentistry in Holly Springs, NC

Flossing should be a daily habit, just like brushing your teeth. And so should preventive dentistry appointments! At Springs Village Dentistry, our preventive dental services can improve your oral hygiene, reduce the risk of gum disease and cavities, and maintain a confident, healthy smile for years to come. Contact our office to schedule your visit!

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