You’ve heard it many time while at the dentist: How often do you floss? After reluctantly admitting that you don’t floss enough, you are instructed on the importance of flossing daily.  However just flossing isn’t good enough, you also need to be flossing properly.  Proper flossing is a huge key to your oral health.

Brushing is very important but brushing alone does not get rid of all the bits of food and bacteria from in-between your teeth.  Bacteria left around your teeth for long periods of time can cause periodontal disease.

To properly floss:

  1. Use approximately 18 inches of floss and wrap the ends around your index fingers tightly.
  2. Grab the floss with your index fingers and thumb and gently slide the floss between your teeth.  Make sure you floss between all your teeth, being careful to not be too aggressive.  You want to gently rub the floss between the gum line and the teeth.
  3. Move the floss in a “c” motion, up and down, and back and forth.  Let the floss dip below the gum line (2-3 millimeters) so that you’re reaching the contours of each tooth.
  4. Unravel a bit of floss for each tooth so that you’re using a new, clean piece on each tooth.
  5. Don’t forget the back of your rear molars, this spot is often forgotten and gum disease and decay are common on theses hard to reach areas.
  6. Rinse your mouth out with water to help remove any stray particles.

If your gums bleed after flossing, do not give up; it’s actually a sign that you need to floss more.  Make sure you floss at least once a day!  The American Dental Association (ADA) suggests flossing for 2-3 minutes.   This small amount of time each day devoted to flossing will go a long way in keeping your mouth healthy!