Flossing, just like brushing, is a very important oral hygiene habit. Plaque is a yellow-colored sticky film that builds upon your teeth and contributes to cavities and gum disease. Flossing helps clean the areas between your teeth where stuck food particles contribute to bacteria and plaque buildup.

Even though most people brush their teeth, the majority of them do not floss regularly. And simply flossing is not not enough; it has to be done in the right way to reap its benefits. If flossing is done improperly, it can damage your teeth and gums.

Flossing: Steps to Follow

  • Follow these steps to floss correctly:
  • Break off about 18 to 24 inches of floss to wind around both middle fingers leaving about 1-2 inches of floss for your teeth.
  • Firmly hold each end between your thumbs and index fingers.
  • Place the floss between two teeth. Gently move the floss up and down while rubbing it on the sides of both teeth. Make sure the floss does not glide on your gums, as this may bruise the gums.
  • Curve the floss into a C-shape to allow the floss to enter the space between your tooth and gums.
  • Floss the next teeth through the same steps. Choose a new section of floss for each tooth.

When Is the Right Time to Floss?

Aside from the correct way of flossing, it is also essential to know the right timing to floss. Some people floss after brushing their teeth. However, it should be done the other way around: floss and then brush your teeth.

When you floss, the food particles stuck between your teeth come out and then are cleaned out by brushing. If the opposite is done, the food particles remain in your mouth until the next time you brush your teeth.

Types of Dental Floss

Dental floss comes in a lot of varieties. The type of floss that suits you depends on your personal preferences, the amount of gap in between your teeth, if you’re wearing braces, or if you have bridges.

Types of floss include:

  • Standard floss: A thin nylon strand that is just right to fit in between your teeth.
  • Dental tape: A broader and flatter type, like a ribbon.
  • Super flosses: Works with braces, bridges and gaps.


Contact Dr. Angela An, D.D.S. General Dentistry at (415) 291-8668 or schedule an appointment online to visit us at 490 Post St #1020, San Francisco, CA 94102 during our business hours. 

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