Dental flossing is a very important step in routine dental cleaning. The space in between teeth makes up almost half the dental area and brushing alone misses these large areas. Hence, flossing (interdental cleaning) is a critical step for dental hygiene. Removing plaque between teeth can prevent gum disease, decay and bad breath.
How to floss
- Break off about 30 cm of floss and wind most of it around one of your middle fingers. Wind the remaining floss around the same finger of the opposite hand.
- Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers.
- Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion. Never snap the floss into the gums.
- 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.
- Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum with up and down motions.
- Once finished, throw the floss away. Brush your teeth after you floss to complete the routine.
Flossing common recommendations
- It is advised to floss from the age of 12.
- Floss for at least 2 minutes, once a day, in the morning, night, or even post lunch.
- When you first start flossing, gums may bleed a little and become tender. This should stop once gums become healthier. However, if regular bleeding doesn’t stop, consult your dentist.
- If you find flossing difficult, get advice from your dentist on the correct technique.
- Flossing is more important if you are wearing braces. But it has to be gentle and slow to prevent damage to the braces.