Flossing Quick Reference

Flossing Quick Reference

Clean between your teeth once a day to help remove food and plaque from under the gum line. Flossing is one way to do this. It takes time to get the hang of flossing. Be patient with yourself and don’t give up!

Your dentist or dental hygienist can show you the right way to floss. Here are some tips that may help:

  1. Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around one of your index fingers. Wind the rest around a finger on the other hand. This finger will take up the used floss.
  2. Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers. Guide the floss between your teeth, using a gentle rubbing motion. To avoid injuring your gums, never snap the floss into gum tissue.
  3. When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a “C” shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth.
  4. Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Gently rub the side of the tooth with an up-and-down motion. Try not to use a sawing motion once the floss is worked into place.
  5. Repeat this method on the rest of your teeth. As you move from tooth to tooth, unwind the clean floss with one finger and take up the used floss with the finger on the other hand. Do not forget to floss the back side of the last tooth.

For a clean, healthy smile, remember to:

  • Use products that show the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
  • Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and for two minutes each time.
  • Replace your toothbrush every three months or sooner if the bristles are worn or frayed.
  • Clean between teeth daily with floss or another between-the-teeth cleaner.
  • Eat a healthy diet that limits sugary beverages and snacks.
  • See your dentist regularly for prevention and treatment of oral disease.