How to Floss Properly

Flossing is essential for good oral hygiene. It will remove plaque and help you eliminate food particles in areas toothbrushing alone cannot reach, such as between the teeth and under the gum line

If you allow dental plaque to build up and food to sit between your teeth, you will increase your risk of halitosis, tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss. 

Protect your smile by learning how to floss properly each day. Keep reading for a step-by-step guide.

The Best Flossing Technique

There is a wrong and right way to floss teeth. For instance, some people make the mistake of applying heavy pressure when they should gently attempt to remove plaque and food between their teeth.

We here at BAFdentistry recommend using between 18 to 24 inches of dental floss each time. Wind it around your index or pointer finger and hold it tightly between them and your thumb. 

Leave approximately one to two inches for flossing teeth, which should be enough to reach and clean the front, back, and middle of your teeth.

Once placed between your teeth, angle floss downwards, and use a gentle rocking motion to remove particles without irritating your gums. 

Avoid snagging or popping the floss between your teeth and guide it up and down along the tooth surface and under the gum line. 

Always use a clean section of floss between each tooth and make a C shape with the floss to wrap it around a tooth, gently pulling it upward. 

Flossing with Braces

If you have braces, flossing can be a little harder. However, you mustn’t overlook this step to protect your oral health. 

Set 10 to 15 minutes aside for daily flossing to maintain healthy teeth and gums while wearing braces.

Ensure you floss in front of a mirror to carefully guide thread floss between the main wire and your teeth. 

Wrap the floss around your index fingers to guide it gently between your teeth, and follow a similar technique as above.

However, you must be careful to unthread it behind the brace wire. Avoid popping it from your tooth to ensure you don’t dislodge a wire. 

Also, many people with braces find it easier to floss their teeth with a water flosser, such as a Waterpik or floss threader, which is a smaller flossing tool that could save you time each day.

The Correct Way to Floss

It is common for people to brush their teeth first and then floss. While it is much better than not flossing at all, it is wise to floss your teeth before brushing. 

Flossing and toothbrushing serve different purposes. Flossing will lift and remove food and plaque between your teeth, and brushing your teeth will remove excess particles from your mouth afterwards.

If you choose to brush first, you will leave the remaining plaque and food in your mouth until you return to the bathroom to floss your teeth.

How Often You Should Floss

Everyone should floss their teeth at least once per day and brush twice each day to maintain good oral hygiene. 

Of course, you can incorporate flossing into your morning and evening dental routine or if you have food stuck between your teeth. 

However, you mustn’t over-floss your teeth, as you could irritate your gums and cause them to bleed.

The Best Floss to Use

Various floss types are available, and the best option will depend on the space between your teeth, personal preferences, and if you have a bridge or braces.

For instance, dental tape is an ideal choice if you have large gaps between your teeth or wear braces, as it is flat and broad like a ribbon, making it easier to control. 

Alternatively, you could pick up standard floss, which is available waxed or unwaxed. It is a great option if your teeth are close together or crowded. Waxed dental floss can make it easier to move a strand between teeth, too.

More people are turning to bamboo floss, as it is an eco-friendly way to care for your teeth and gums daily. Also, it can reportedly trap odors and absorb toxins and stains to help you develop a healthier, whiter smile and fresh breath.

Another option is super floss, as the threader is a handy way to clean teeth if you have a bridge, braces, or large gaps between the teeth. The stiffened end makes it easy to floss underneath a dental appliance and includes a spongy floss to clean around it. Also, you can use the regular floss to remove plaque under the gum line.

How to Make Flossing Easier

Dental tape, floss threaders, and waxed floss might be ideal for some people, but they aren’t always the fastest or easiest way to floss, especially if you wear braces.

Fortunately, there are various products on the market that make the process a breeze. As mentioned, you can use a water flosser or electric flosser instead, as the pressure of the water can quickly remove food and plaque between your teeth. It is a handy option if you wear braces or find regular flossing difficult. 

Disposable floss picks are a helpful tool to keep at home or on your person, too, as they can help you quickly clean hard-to-reach areas on your back teeth. 


Flossing is crucial for maintaining healthy gums and teeth throughout the years. Alongside other good oral hygiene practices and regular professional dental cleanings, you can maintain a fresh, healthy, and attractive smile day after day.

Of course, you must follow the above techniques to remove plaque and food successfully and care for your teeth and gums. 

Also, don’t be afraid to try different types of floss or devices until you find a product that best matches your preferences and dental routine.

If you need help with your flossing technique or want to book an exam at a reputable, friendly, and professional dental office, don’t hesitate to contact us here at BAFdentistry. Call or email our helpful team today to schedule an appointment.