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woman flossing her teeth

How to Floss Your Teeth: The Do's and Don'ts of Flossing

January 23, 2019


If you are like most people, you may not be flossing enough, or even, at all! Even if you are a regular twice-a-day brusher, if you're not flossing on a daily basis, you've got some work to do to improve your overall oral health.

Did you know that a tooth actually has FIVE surfaces, and a toothbrush can only effectively clean 3 of the 5 surfaces:

  1. Inside
  2. Outside
  3. Top


A toothbrush cannot reach in between your teeth. That's a job for flossing.

Contrary to popular belief, flossing is not just a good way to get the food out from between your teeth.

The “higher purpose” of flossing really is to remove the film that is created by bacteria, before it turns into plaque. Once  it hardens, plaque then forms into a white chalky coating called tartar (Dental Calculus).

Tartar has a rough surface that allows even more bacteria to grow. If left there, eventually it can lead to some serious problems such as bleeding gums and breakdown of bone and gum tissues.

If you are ready to get serious about flossing, here's a few do's and dont's to follow:


  • Use commercial floss —any type is good—waxed unwaxed, flavored, thin or thick
  • Use enough floss, 18” is about right to enable good flossing technique
  • Floss under the gum line—because bacteria lives about 3mm below the gum line
  • Use a gentle rubbing motion
  • Floss every day. Bacteria takes around 24 hrs to build up again,  so daily flossing is the best way to avoid this from happening



  • Use thread or yarn —they can easily get stuck between teeth or cause gums to bleed
  • Substitute floss with a proxy brush— they are good for getting in between teeth or for those wearing braces, but they don't get under gum line
  • Re-use floss—this will just spread the bacteria around your mouth
  • Worry if you floss before or after brushing—any time you floss is a good time!


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