Proper Flossing Technique

Recently, an article was published about how flossing may not actually be very helpful in preventing cavities or keeping your mouth clean and healthy (Feeling Guilty About Not Flossing? Maybe There’s No Need – New York Times) But not everything you read online is true – and it sometimes only tells part of the story. If you floss correctly using proper flossing technique, it CAN and WILL help prevent cavities and help prevent infections in your mouth.

Here is the best way to floss:

  1. Take a piece of floss that is long enough to be wrapped around your forefingers on both hands. Keep the length of the floss about 1-1.5 inches. The length is important because floss that is cut too long will not have the same tensile strength to help remove plaque. 1-1.5 inches is perfect to allow your hands to control the floss in the way that you need.
  2. Gently lower the floss in between your teeth using a sawing motion. You don’t want to jab it in there and cause bleeding on your gums. Then use an up and down motion on each side of the tooth following the curve. (The purpose is NOT to bring the floss up and down between the area where your teeth meet and back under.)
  3. Use up and down motions from the gum area up to the top of the tooth and try to reach the entire inside area of both teeth that are touching. Do NOT go in and out in a saw motion. This can cause your gums to bleed.
  4. Repeat this for every tooth surface until you have completed your entire mouth.

It may seem a like a long and laborious process, but it’s worth it to protect your teeth. Once you learn how to floss properly, it will take less time, but try not to rush through the process. It’s important to be thorough and get all the nooks and crannies where bacteria can be hiding.

If you have any questions, visit Candlewood Dental Care. Dr. Lorraine Burio has been treating and educating patients for over twenty-five years. Our offices are located in New Fairfield, New Milford, Danbury, and Sherman areas of CT and Pawling, Patterson and Putnam Lake of New York. You can call us at 203-746-1200 or make an appointment here.