Do You Feel All Tangled up When It Comes to Flossing?

Choose Your Floss

Photo Courtesy of Shawn Marie Watson

Many types of floss are available, either from your dentist or local retailer. Choose one that will meet the needs of your teeth and situation. If you have very tight contacts between your teeth and floss snags or breaks while trying to maneuver it through the contact, look for one that is specifically designed for that situation. If you have limited dexterity, try using one of the many flossing aides designed to eliminate the need to use both hands while flossing. Try to choose a floss that contains fluoride.

Dispense the Floss

Photo Courtesy of Shawn Marie Watson

Before brushing your teeth, measure an arms length of floss, approximately 18 inches, and wind each end around your middle fingers. Grasp 1 to 2 inches of the floss with your index (pointer) finger and thumb.

Begin Flossing

Photo Courtesy of Shawn Marie Watson

Gently glide the floss in between the teeth in a sawing motion. Use care not to snap the floss between the teeth as this may cause trauma to the tissue.

Angle the Floss Correctly

Photo Courtesy of Shawn Maire Watson

Angle the floss so it hugs the tooth in a ā€œcā€ shape. Gently slide the floss up and down the surface of the tooth making sure it goes slightly below the gumline. When complete, angle the floss to hug the tooth in the opposite direction, and repeat this step.

Floss Between All of Your Teeth

Photo Courtesy of Shawn Marie Watson

Continue flossing all of the upper and lower teeth. Try working in a clockwise direction, beginning with your upper molars on your left side and then ending with your lower molars on your left side. As you move on to each set teeth, unwind the floss from your fingers, and rewind it so there is a clean section of floss to use.

Always Follow Up With Brushing

Photo Courtesy of Shawn Marie Watson

When you have finished flossing, follow with brushing and rinse with either water or mouthwash. Try to floss before every brushing. If you do not have time for flossing in the morning, always floss in the evening before your final brush of the day.


The American Dental Association. Oral Health Topics - "Cleaning Your Teeth and Gums"

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