How to Floss Your Teeth Properly

How to Floss Your Teeth Properly

Plaque is the sticky bacterial matrix that sticks to teeth, causing problems in our mouths.  We should all do everything we can to disorganize or remove this bacteria.  Luckily, there are ways to get rid of this sticky stuff.

One tried and true method that everyone is familiar with is dental floss.

What type of floss should I use?

There are many types of dental floss to choose from, varying in everything from flavour to coarseness.  At the end of the day, the type you should use is the type you will use more frequently.  In other words, pick the type you personally like.

Standard dental floss is braided.  This means that when it comes in contact with the side of a tooth, it spreads out of clean more surface area.



How do I floss?

Step 1: Wrap the floss around your middle fingers.

To become a proficient flosser, you need to use and be able to control a short piece between your fingers.  Too long of a piece will be too hard to control.


Step 2: Start flossing.

Control your Floss

To floss your upper teeth, control the floss with your thumbs.  For your lower teeth, use your index fingers to guide and control the floss.


Follow the Curves

Floss needs to curve around the tooth.  Teeth aren’t squares or rectangles – they’re circular or rounded!  Floss should follow around those curves.  Floss each side of each tooth using a curved piece of floss.  Your floss should look like a ‘C’ or a ‘V’, not a straight line.


Flossing Along the Contact Points

The place where two teeth touch is called a contact point.  To get floss beyond and through a contact point, use a back-and-forth seesaw motion.


Flossing Closer to your Gums

After getting past the contact point, apply the floss gently to the side of the tooth and move the floss up and down.  This doesn’t have to be done aggressively – you’re not scrubbing your teeth!  Plaque only needs to be disorganized to stop its damaging effects, not removed entirely.

Try to floss slightly under your gum line, but not too far.  If you go too far, you will irritate your gum tissue and cause it to become inflamed.  This can be painful and cause swelling and bleeding.  Just floss to the point of resistance – don’t feel like you need to go beyond that to do a good job.

Tip: Don’t push the floss down into the triangle piece of tissue between your teeth.  Just slide the floss along the tooth while being careful not to bang into that little triangle of gum tissue.



Regular flossing isn’t something many people do – it’s just human nature.  However, people who floss regularly and do it right have the healthiest mouths with the fewest dental problems.  Make it just as much of a habit as brushing your teeth, and you’ll reap the benefits for years to come.