floss-700-300x199If you have never flossed before, it may seem confusing trying to figure out the proper techniques. Proper oral care begins with regular brushing followed by flossing. Improper flossing techniques will often mean a limited positive impact by the flossing itself.

A common mistake.

The most common mistake people make when flossing is that they move the floss between their teeth but then slide the floss back and forth rather than up and down.

Proper technique.

Starting at the front of your teeth and working your way back, insert a fresh piece of floss between two teeth. Move the floss all the way down to the gum line. Glide the floss against one to down below the gum line then repeat that for the other two. Move the floss back and forth in this motion and that will help to loosen up food and other particles, including plaque, between the teeth and gums. Pull the floss out and then work the floss in your fingers until you have a fresh strip.

Move back towards your rear teeth in the same motion, making sure that you get between every single tooth. Once you have reached the farthest molar back in your mouth, move back to the front of your teeth and work the other half of that row of teeth. Once complete, repeat for your bottom row of teeth.

What happens if you have trouble?

If you struggle to get floss between your teeth because you have large fingers or other issues, you can choose a flossing stick. This is a disposable plastic piece with floss between the ends. It is best to only use one of these floss sticks between each set of teeth. However, it’s more cost-effective to use one stick for each quarter of your entire number of teeth.

If you need more assistance with flossing, contact your local dentist who will be more than happy to show you the proper techniques. Proper flossing will prevent you from having to return to the dentist more than the regular six-month checkups.