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Flossing the Right Way is Just as Important as Flossing Regularly


When you go to Canyon Gate Dental for your regular check-up, you can always expect to have the flossing conversation with your hygienist and dentist.  We aren’t trying to bother you or shame you into adopting a new habit, but we are very much into prevention and want to help you maintain your bright smile.  The importance of flossing is beyond argument; no single activity has more ability to keep away tooth decay and periodontal disease.  You probably know that you should floss daily, but are you aware that your flossing technique is just as important as, if not more important than, your flossing frequency?   Here are ten tips to help you clean your teeth more efficiently:

Flossing Teeth

  1. Realize that bacteria constantly builds up in your mouth and adheres to your teeth.  If you miss areas when you brush and floss, you will still be susceptible to problems.  Make sure you are thorough.  I’d rather see you floss very well once a week than do a hack job on a daily basis.
  2. Avoid sawing the floss back and forth; this can damage your gums.  Rather, slide the floss up and down against the tooth surfaces
  3. Remember to slide against both the front tooth surface and the back tooth surface.  Many people simply pop the floss in once, pull it back out and call it good.
  4. Don’t floss too aggressively.   Pushing hard against your gums or snapping the floss hard will only damage your gums.
  5. Don’t forget to floss under the gums.  Plaque and tartar left under the gums is different in composition than the plaque and tartar above the gums and it can be the most damaging kind in your whole mouth.
  6. Floss the back surfaces of the back teeth even though they’re not up against another tooth.  This is more effective than brushing these areas.
  7. You need about 18 inches of floss to do it properly.  No points are awarded for conservation and floss is extremely cheap.
  8. Use a new section of floss for each couple teeth so that bad bacteria from a problem spot will not be shared with other sections of teeth and gums.
  9. Floss in front of a mirror.  You’ll be more effective.
  10. String floss is more effective than flosser sticks.  I’ll never harp on anyone who uses floss sticks regularly, but string floss is a better tool for the job.

-Nicolas K. Young, DMD

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