Don’t Be Strung Up By Floss: How-To Guide For Flossing

Toddlers brushing and flossing their teeth

Knowing how to floss properly is essential to maintain good oral hygiene. Flossing helps remove plaque and helps prevent cavities and gum problems by cleaning those tight spaces between the teeth that your toothbrush can't reach. Take the time to learn how to floss properly to ensure your teeth are healthy and beautiful for years to come.

Floss Once a Day

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends flossing your teeth once a day. If you adopt the habit of flossing before you go to bed at night, you won't need to worry about flossing more than that. Excessive flossing is ineffective and can actually cause damage and irritation to sensitive gum tissue.

Use a Gentle Touch

It's important to be gentle when flossing. Many people apply a lot of pressure or use a vigorous sawing motion, thinking this will clean their teeth. But this kind of forceful flossing can irritate the gums. Instead, floss lightly. Do not force or snap the floss against the gums. Try to use the side of the tooth to slide the floss gently into place.

Apply the Right Technique

Instead of applying too much force or flossing excessively, use the right flossing technique to leave your teeth sparkling clean without any pain.

  • Dispense about 45 centimetres of floss.
  • Hold a short amount of floss between your thumb and fingers, and insert it between your teeth.
  • Curve the floss around each tooth in a "C" shape.
  • Gently move the floss using a slow back-and-forth and up-and-down motion, including under the gumline. Be careful not to apply too much pressure.
  • Use a new, clean section of floss for each tooth.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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How to FLOSS

  1. Pull 50 cm of dental floss from the floss dispenser.

  2. Wrap the ends of the floss around your index and middle fingers.

  3. Hold the floss tightly around each tooth in a C shape; move the floss back and forth in a push-pull motion and up and down against the side of each tooth.

How to BRUSH

  1. Place the toothbrush at a 45°angle along the gum line. Move the toothbrush in a back and forth motion, and repeat for each tooth.

  2. Brush the inside surface of each tooth, using the same back and forth technique.

  3. Brush the chewing surface (top) of each tooth.

  4. Use tip of brush to brush behind each tooth — front and back, top and bottom and up and down strokes.

  5. Be sure to brush your tongue to remove odor-causing germs.

Don’t brush off your oral health

Brushing and flossing are the keys to a healthy smile. Check out of products to find what’s right for you.