How to Floss Properly: Step-by-Step Guide

How to Floss Properly

Check how to floss properly: Dentists advise everyone with permanent dentition to daily once floss their teeth after meals. They call flossing teeth an essential practice to maintain good oral hygiene. However, people know very little about the right flossing technique recommended by dental practitioners.

In this piece of information, a dental hygienist in Chicago at First Point Dental has discussed How to Floss Properly: Step-by-Step Guide in detail.

What is Flossing?

Flossing is a process of cleaning and dislodging the food stuck between the teeth and along the gum line. It is a valued oral hygiene habit and an important addition to brushing. It involves the use of dental floss. Dental floss is a thin filament made of nylon, silk, or thread. 

When is Tooth Flossing Recommended?

Typically, teenagers and adults can tooth-floss their teeth. Flossing is not for children aged less than 12 years or those who have milk teeth. It is especially advised for individuals who have tight interdental space. Such individuals are more likely to get food particles entrapped in between their teeth. In that case, it’s difficult to get rid of the stuck food by simple brushing and mouth rinsing.

Why is Flossing Important?

Our mouth has an ideal environment for bacteria to reside and flourish. The mouth bacteria feed upon the ingested food and produce acids. When the bacteria inside the mouth combines with food particles, it leads to the formation of dental plaque- a sticky biofilm. The failure to remove dental plaque can soon turn plaque and tartar.

Tartar, also called dental calculus, refers to the black, hard deposits in between the tooth spaces. If both plaque and tartar are left untreated, the bacteria can enter the gums. It can result in ailments like gingivitis (gums infection) and periodontitis (gum disease). 

Poor oral health can manifest in many symptoms like tenderness, pus formation, and troubled biting/chewing. It can even contribute to medical conditions such as cardiac disease, diabetes, pre-term labor, and more.  

Dental flossing can help prevent dental plaque build-up between the teeth. Therefore, it is beneficial to prevent dental issues like tooth decay, gingivitis, and periodontitis. Healthy teeth and gums are essential to maintain the general well-being of an individual.       

how to floss properly

How to Floss your Teeth Properly?

It’s not enough to simply floss the teeth for just its sake. It’s crucial to correctly floss the teeth. Improper flossing can potentially affect the health of teeth and gums. Most people are unsure about the proper way to use dental floss. No problem! Here are the doctor’s recommended flossing instructions.

Step 1: Take about 18-24 inches of dental floss. Wind the majority of the floss around both middle fingers, leaving only 1-2 inches for cleaning teeth.

Step 2: Hold the dental floss taut using both thumbs and index fingers.

Step 3: Place the dental floss in the space between the teeth. Gently, glide it in back and forth motion. Nerve force or snap the floss, as it may bruise or scratch the delicate gums and cause them to bleed. Rub the floss only against either side of the tooth.

Step 4: Upon reaching the gum line, at the tooth’s base, curve the floss to form a C-shape. This allows the floss to easily get into the space between the gums and tooth and enables thorough cleaning.

Step 5: Repeat steps 1 to 4 and clean every spacing between teeth and between teeth and gums. For every tooth, use a clean, fresh section of the dental floss to avoid re-introducing bacteria in the gums.

Do not miss out on any tooth or its side. It’s advised to follow a regular flossing pattern to ensure thorough cleaning. Start from the top teeth set and start cleaning from left to right. Once the upper teeth set is clean, do the same for the lower teeth.

Step 6: Remove the floss using the same upward-downward movement to bring the floss up and away from the tooth.       

How to floss your teeth

What Types of Dental Floss are Best to Use to Ensure Proper Teeth Flossing?

There are varieties of dental flosses to choose from. The best choice depends upon one’s preferences, the extent of spacing between the teeth, and the presence of bridges/braces.

Dental floss is available either in the form of ribbon or string. Ribbon floss or dental tape is best for cleaning teeth with braces, spaces, or large gaps in between teeth. Standard string floss is effective for cleaning teeth having close contact with one another. It comes waxed, un-waxed, or partially waxed as well as flavored or un-flavored.

Another type is the super floss or floss threader. It has three parts. The first component is a stiffened end that works best for flossing underneath dental appliances. Next is a spongy floss that helps clean the appliances. Third is a regular floss to help remove plaque built under the gum line. This type of dental floss can work for cleaning spaces between teeth with bridges or braces.     

Other forms of regular dental floss are Multifilament (Nylon) floss and Monofilament (PTFE) floss. Nylon floss is less effective for cleaning teeth with tight contact points as it can easily shred or tear. PTFE is expensive floss that can best work for cleaning tight spaces between the teeth. It can easily slide between teeth and is virtually shred-resistant.

According to recent studies, dental flosses saturated with povidone-iodine solution are the most effective. They have excellent antibacterial potency and aid in good dental health.

In addition to the above-mentioned types of flosses, other tools are also available to make flossing easier. One option is an electric or water flosser. It utilizes water and pressure to eliminate food debris and plaque from between teeth. Another option is a disposable floss pick. It is easier to guide along the teeth. It can help clean even hard-to-reach teeth at the back of the mouth.   


Flossing is equally important as brushing twice daily two times brushing to reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Alongside regular flossing and brushing, dentists even recommend regular dental check-ups and bi-annual professional teeth cleaning. Professional teeth cleaning helps remove dental plaque and tartar. It is also important to follow the answer provided by the dentist on ways on how to Floss Properly following Step-by-Step Guide.Looking for the best clinic to schedule your regular dental cleanings in Chicago? Schedule an appointment with the best dental hygienists at First Point Dental.