Mastering the Art of Flossing Teeth: Your Complete Guide

18 March 2022

Dental floss word written in letters of floss on a blue background

Why do you need to floss?

Yes, you absolutely should be flossing everyday! Even if you have the best brushing habit in the universe, brushing your teeth simply isn’t enough to get rid of all the food debris stuck in your teeth. 

“But I haven’t been flossing, and my teeth are just fine!” you argue? Well, consider yourself lucky. Because skipping on that floss has been clinically proven to cause:

  • Plaque build-up along the gumline, which, in turn, causes…
  • …bleeding gums, and…
  • …gingivitis, which, if left untreated, can become…
  • …periodontitis. Oh yeah, it’s a snowball effect of oral carnage.

Trust us; bleeding, swollen, and tender are definitely not words you’d want to be using to describe any part of your body, especially around the mouth area. 

Periodontitis – for those of us who don’t have a medical degree – is an advanced form of gum disease. It’s literally a bacterial infection eating away at your gums. Imagine having flesh-eating aliens in your mouth…all because you hadn’t been using a piece of string.

So in a nutshell, and in case you didn’t get the memo, you really should floss. 

Everyday.

How do I floss my teeth?

So you’re on board with flossing now – great news for you and your dental health! 

Now, the age-old question. How to floss correctly? After all, holding a piece of string and trying to go fish in between your teeth can be a little awkward, especially if you’re not used to it. Do you jiggle? Move up and down? Shimmy? What does that even mean?

Don’t worry. We’ve got you – keep reading for our step-by-step guide!

  1. Get your floss! There’s a tonne of options available for you – from tape type floss to regular, stringy dental floss. You may need to experiment to find what works best for you. Luckily, dental floss doesn’t cost a bomb. 
  2. Get your floss out and cut off about 40 cm. Yes, 40 cm. It seems like a lot, but it’ll make the process a lot less awkward.
  3. Wrap the floss around your index finger on each hand, until you have your floss stretched taut in your hand. About 15 cm of taut floss will be good to work with, especially to get to your back teeth!
  4. Gently wedge the floss in between your teeth. If it’s a tight fit, don’t force it in. Instead, use a gentle back and forth motion to guide the floss in. 
  5. Run the floss from the base of your tooth to the top, being careful to avoid the gum tissue in between. Make sure you get both sides of your tooth!
  6. Wind the floss so you’re using a clean section each time you move on to a new tooth. 
  7. Rinse and repeat until you’ve flossed in between all your teeth! If you notice the floss getting brownish or accumulating some gunk, don’t be grossed out – it just means you’re doing a good job!

 

Ta-da! That’s it! Now you know how to floss your teeth to keep them healthy and in tip top shape.

Why can't I just use floss picks?

If you’re wondering what floss picks are, they’re plastic picks with one end shaped as a bow (that’s where the floss goes). And as you can imagine, they are very portable. So can you just use those to floss all the time? 

Unfortunately, no you shouldn’t. Yeah, we love floss picks too. They’re great for on-the-go, spot flossing. And they’re a lifesaver and must-have for date night at the local ma la xiang guo joint. (How romantic.)

But regular floss is better for deeper cleaning than floss picks. This is because the longer piece of floss is able to wrap around your tooth more effectively, which, in turn, allows for a broader clean. 

Floss picks are really only for getting food unstuck from in between your teeth, and since you can’t wrap the floss around your tooth’s surface area, they’re not ideal for regular, everyday use. So leave the floss picks for quick after-meal touch-ups. And date night.

We’ve now reached the part where you graduate Flossing 101, armed with all the info you need to keep those chompers in good shape. Go on, conquer the world with that squeaky clean smile. And may the floss be with you.

Easy flossing while
straightening your teeth?

What more could you ask for? 

Table of Contents

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This device or software is not intended to be used for any medical purpose (such as the detection, diagnosis, monitoring, management or treatment of any medical condition or disease). Any health-related information provided by this device or software should not be treated as medical advice. Please consult a physician for any medical advice required.

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