Am I Flossing Correctly?


Brushing your teeth twice a day is the first and probably the most important step in caring for your oral health. You should, however, also be flossing daily. Flossing helps to remove plaque and bacteria from in between the teeth where your toothbrush can’t reach, and flossing is an integral tool in preventing gum disease, tooth decay, cavities, and even bad breath.

If you aren’t flossing correctly, however, you might not be flossing effectively or you could even damage your soft gum tissues.

5 Steps to Proper Flossing Technique

1. Getting Starting
Start with about 18 to 24 inches of dental floss. Wind most of the floss around your middle fingers, leaving a few inches of floss unwound between your fingers for flossing your teeth.

2. Holding the Floss
Next, pinch the unwound floss between your index fingers and thumbs to pull it taught.

3. Start Flossing
Gently work the taught floss into a space between two of your teeth. Try to avoid sliding the floss directly into your gum tissues, as this can damage your gums.


4. C-Shape Flossing
You can gently slide the floss into the space between your teeth and gums by curving it into a “C” shape with the floss. With the floss pulled into a “C” shape around a tooth, work it up and down against the side of the tooth. Then pull it into a “C” shape facing the other direction around the neighboring tooth. This allows the floss to clean either side of the small “peak” of gum tissue that you’ll find between each of your teeth.

5. Repeat
Use a clean section of floss to repeat the above-listed steps in the spaces between each of your teeth.

More Flossing Options

If you’re not crazy about using regular string-style dental floss, there are other options that provide the same benefits such as plastic flossers that “hold” the dental floss for you and water flossers. If you think that using one of these tools instead of traditional string dental floss would make you more likely to floss your teeth, we encourage you to do so!

If you have braces or other dental appliances, routine oral hygiene can be slightly more challenging. Our dentist, Dr. Paul Michels, is always happy to help patients learn the best flossing tools and methods to ensure their teeth and gums stay healthy for life. To learn more or schedule an appointment, we welcome you to contact Cardinal Dental in La Mesa today.