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Are you flossing right? Here’s how you can tell.


Flossing is one of those eternal mysteries, even in the dental care community. There always seems to be a lot of debate going around that subject, as to when should I floss, how should I do it, and do I even really need it?

All are worthwhile questions that we, at The Gallery Dental, have gotten more than a handful of times. So here’s what you need to know about flossing, including why, how, and when.

So, how should you floss correctly?

Step 1. Break off a length of floss (about 40 cm should be good), and wind it around your index or middle fingers. Wind it several times, as you only want to leave about 2-3 of “working” floss in between your two fingers

Step 2. Floss. Using your thumbs to add stability, start flossing on the top layer of teeth, from left to right, gliding the floss gently up and down the sides of each tooth. Remember that our main purpose here is to remove the accumulation of plaque.

Step 3. When you reach the gums, maneuver the floss to curve it into a slight C shape at the base of your tooth. Move the floss gently against the tooth, to get to the area between your tooth and the gums.

Step 4. Repeat for every single tooth, using a clean section of your floss for every single tooth.

Okay, this sounds simple enough. So what could be going wrong?

Common Flossing Mistakes

A lot of people have been put off by flossing, claiming that it’s hurting or damaging their teeth. In that case, they’re just doing it wrong, and you may be, too. Here are some of the most common flossing mistakes that are ruining your flossing experience.

Mistake #1. You’re hurting your gums.

A lot of people mistakenly grind their floss aggressively down into their teeth, which of course, can cause irritation and hurt the gums. You need to gently move the floss from one side of the tooth to the other, and stop once you reach the gums. You’re trying to remove plaque, not grind down the gumline.

Mistake #2. Wrong floss.

Yes, there actually is such a thing as the wrong type of floss for you. Of course, a dental care professional is best suited to help you determine the right floss type for you. This will depend on your denture, and aspects such as the spaces between your teeth, since the wrong type of floss might be too thick or too thin for your particular teeth.

Mistake #3. You’re overdoing it.

Flossing isn’t like brushing your teeth. You don’t need to do it at least twice a day, and you definitely don’t need to do it after every meal. Over-flossing can lead to toothache and irritation, and may prove counterproductive.

Mistake #4. You’re flossing at the wrong time.

The best time to floss is at night, before you brush your teeth. This will remove the accumulation of plaque built up over the day, and offer a more profound cleaning when you brush.

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