Return to Index
How to Floss
- Polishes tooth surfaces
- Controls bad breath
- Increases the chances of keeping your teeth for a lifetime
- Break off about 18 inches of floss, and wind most of it around one of your middle fingers. Wind the rest around the middle finger of your other hand.
- Pinch floss between the thumb and index finger of each hand, leaving about one inch of floss between your two hands.
- Pull the floss taut and use a gentle sawing motion to insert it between two teeth.
- When the floss reaches the tip of the triangular gum flap, curve the floss into a C shape against one of the teeth. Then slide the floss gently into the space between the tooth and the gum until you feel resistance.
- Holding the floss tightly against the tooth, scrape up and down five or six times along the side of the tooth and under the gumline.
- Without removing the floss, curve it around the adjacent tooth and scrape that one too.
- Floss each tooth thoroughly with a clean section of floss. A turn of each middle finger brings out a fresh section of floss.
- After flossing, rinse well with water.
- People just learning to floss
- People with limited dexterity
- People with permanently attached retainers or bridge work
- Caretakers who are flossing someone else's teeth
American Dental Association http://www.ada.org/
American Dental Hygenists' Association http://www.adha.org/
Canadian Dental Association http://www.cda-adc.ca
The Canadian Dental Hygienists Association http://www.cdha.ca/
Flossing. American Dental Association Healthy Mouth website. Available at: http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/f/flossing.aspx. Accessed December 7, 2012.
Keep Your Healthy Smile. American Dental Association website. Available at: http://www.ada.org/sections/newsAndEvents/pdfs/keep%5Fsmile%5Fhealthy.pdf. Accessed December 7, 2012.
Proper flossing. The American Dental Hygienists’ Association website. Available at: http://www.adha.org/oralhealth/flossing.htm. Accessed December 7, 2012.
Should I floss?. Academy of General Dentistry. Know Your Teeth website.. Available at: http://www.knowyourteeth.com/infobites/abc/article/?abc=s&iid=184&aid=1209. Updated February 2007. Accessed December 7, 2012.
- Reviewer: Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 12/2012
- Update Date: 12/07/2012