Flossing: Step By Step Guidance To Floss Correctly

Flossing is an essential oral hygiene habit. Doctors and professionals have stressed that flossing is good for a person’s dental hygiene. It is recommended to do flossing daily as it helps in removing the bacteria and plaque in the mouth and is important for healthy gums.

Flossing: Step By Step Guidance To Floss Correctly


Flossing is the procedure of cleaning between the teeth using a string of dental floss. Flossing helps in removing and cleaning the food stuck in between the teeth. This helps in reducing the amount of plaque and bacteria in the mouth. Plaque is a sticky lining of bacteria that continuously builds up on teeth which ultimately leads to gum diseases like gingivitis and cavities.

Flossing: Step By Step Guidance To Floss Correctly

Thus flossing is highly recommended to help remove the plaque, which if left untreated can result in many dental complications. It can even develop on tooth roots and result in the breakage of bones supporting teeth. It can only be removed through proper oral hygiene consisting of brushing and flossing teeth daily.

Many people tend to brush their teeth daily, but they don’t floss as regularly as they should. Flossing helps in removing the food particles and plaque where the brush can’t reach easily which is between the teeth and under the gum line.

Complications Due to Plaque

Plaque, if left untreated can harden and turn to tartar, which may lead to the following dental issues:

  • Tooth loss and decay
  • Cavities
  • Gingivitis
  • Abscessed Tooth (Tooth Infection)
  • Periodontitis (Critical Gum Infection)

In the case of not flossing at all, people are at risk of major dental problems including gingivitis, which if left untreated can lead to periodontal disease. The bacteria related to periodontitis can enter the bloodstream through the bleeding gums and can progress to some medical complications which might include heart diseases as well.

How to Floss Correctly?

It isn’t sufficient to simply floss. It is essential to floss teeth properly and in the right manner following the right procedure. The correct steps of flossing range from choosing the right dental floss to the right time of when to floss and in what manner.

Types of Dental Floss

Choosing the right type of floss marks the first step of correct flossing. Dental floss comes in varied varieties, depending on the preferences, if a person has braces, or depending on the amount of gap between the teeth. Few dental flosses are easy to use in narrow spaces while some are better used in wider spaces. A few types of dental floss can be briefed as under:

  1. Dental tape – It is a waxed floss that is wide and flat which helps to floss easily for people having braces or wide gaps in between their teeth.
  2. Super Floss – Super Floss can also be used by people sporting braces, gaps and bridges in between their teeth. Having a hard end, spongy floss and regular floss this can be used to floss under the braces, around them and under the gum line to remove the build-up plaque.
  3. Standard Floss – It is a nylon thin thread like floss. It comes in waxed as well as unwaxed forms and may be flavoured as well, giving a wide variety for people to choose from according to their preferences. It can be easily used by people having tight spaces between their teeth. 

Apart from the above, there is a water flosser and disposable floss picks as well for people who find it difficult to use dental floss.

Proper Flossing Technique

Proper Flossing Technique

As stated earlier, to get benefitted from flossing, proper and correct techniques should be used. The steps to proper flossing can be summarised as under:

  1. The approximate length of the floss should be around 18 to 24 inches. To hold the dental floss properly, curl the floss around both the middle fingers leaving about an inch or two for the teeth.
  2. Then hold the floss firmly between the index fingers and thumbs.
  3. Put the floss between the teeth and gently slide it up and down, against the sides of the teeth in a rubbing motion. Prevent the floss to slip into the gums, to protect the gum from cuts or scratches.
  4. Reaching the gum, gently slide the floss around the curve of the tooth making a C to reach beneath the gum line. 
  5. The clean parts of the floss should be used for each tooth.
  6. Repeat the above steps for proper flossing for every tooth.
  7. In order to remove the floss, the same up and down motions should be used to remove the floss away from the teeth.
  8. After finishing, the used piece of floss should be thrown away. Using the same floss may leave bacteria and may not be as effective.

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