Education | Flossing

Proper Flossing Method

A large percent of cavities begin between the teeth and while brushing is extremely important, the bristles of your toothbrush simply cannot reach between your teeth, therefore flossing is a very important part of your daily oral hygiene routine. Dr. Porterfield does not recommend a specific type of floss; it is a personal preference. However, if you have specific appliances, bridges, or other restorative work you may find that a dental floss threader helps you floss under those appliances.

Break off between 18 inches and two feet of floss and wind a large majority of the floss around one of your middle fingers and a small portion around the same finger on the opposite hand leaving about one inch to work with. This finger will take up the floss as it used while you floss.

Hold the floss tightly between your thumb and index finger and slowly guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion. Remember that the purpose of flossing is to clean between your teeth. Do notattempt to forcefully snap the floss into your gums. When the floss reaches the gum line, gently pull the floss into a C shape tightly against one tooth. Slide the floss into the space between the tooth and the gum until you feel slight resistance and move it away from the gum in the same up and down motion. Then repeat this method on the opposing tooth. Wind the floss section by simply spinning the floss around your middle finger and once again making the floss taunt. Repeat this process on the rest of your teeth remembering to floss the backside of your last tooth.

You should floss at least once a day. Flossing helps prevent periodontal disease and interproximal cavities and although it is often neglected, it truly is an integral part of oral hygiene. If you have not been flossing regularly, you may notice some discomfort, puffiness, or bleeding. This should lessen with each daily flossing until after about a week. If you continue to have problems, contact Dr. Porterfield’s office for an appointment.