dental floss

How To Floss The Right Way

Imagine the following scenario: You come in for your 6-month dental visit and your hygienist asks if you have been flossing. “I  floss daily,” you respond, which is met by a confused look from your hygienist. She then explains that by examining your gums she cannot tell that you are flossing daily. It’s at this point the conclusion can be drawn that perhaps you are simply not flossing the right way.

This scenario plays out more often than you may realize. Many people think that they are keeping their oral health in check by flossing regularly yet are missing out on the full benefits of flossing because they aren’t doing it the right way. To avoid this situation, follow these dental tips and learn how to floss the right way, like our team of expert dentists in Richmond, VA.

Use The Proper Amount of Dental Floss

Most people use far too little dental floss when flossing. Think of how much we use when you come to see us for your regular hygiene visits. (Typically it’s 18- 20″ long) We don’t use this much just because we are a dental office – we use this much because that’s how much it takes to get the job done! So don’t be shy when it comes to dispensing the floss. Let it roll!

Slide, Don’t Pop

Gently slide the floss between each of your teeth. We recommend always starting in the same place so that you get into a habit and aren’t skipping around your mouth and missing teeth. Slide the floss between your teeth in a zig-zag motion, making sure not to just pop it in and out between your teeth.

Get Between The Teeth and Gums

This is where we lose most people so pay close attention! It’s not good enough to simply slide the floss between each of your teeth. Instead you must cup the floss around the base of each tooth where it comes into contact with your gums. Food particles tend to get trapped in these crevices and if you don’t cup the floss you will miss them, resulting in decay.

Don’t Use The Same Portion Of Floss Twice

Once you floss between two teeth, there is a collection of food particles and bacteria that are released. If you use that same portion of floss when you insert it between the next two teeth, you will just be spreading the bacteria and food particles to a new location inside your mouth. Make sure you are using a fresh portion of floss between each tooth! (This is why the 18-20″ of floss is necessary!)

Rinse When Complete

Once you have finished flossing between each tooth, rinse with some water to loosen any remaining particles and to prevent them from ending up back between your teeth.


Follow these simple 5 steps in order to floss the right way.

We want to hear from you! What questions do you have about flossing? Has your hygienist ever told you that she can’t tell that you have been flossing? What tips do you have for remembering to floss regularly? Let us know in the comment section below!

Related Blog Posts:

7 Terrifying Things That Will Happen To Your Mouth If You Don’t Floss

You’ve Got To Be Wondering…Electric Toothbrush or Manual?

5 Tips For Living Cavity Free

POSTED IN: Dental Hygiene, Dental Tips


  1.   Julia Carlson

    I always thought I flossed properly by reading this article. I need to use more floss! I thought it was good to use less so I didn’t waste any, but now I know it’s important to use more than you think you need. I often used the same part of my floss for more than one tooth. Now I know not to do that anymore.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *