The Flossing Guide
All you need to know about flossing
This article explains everything you need to know in order to properly floss your teeth.
- Why Floss?
- How often should you floss?
- What type of floss should you use?
- When? Before or after brushing?
- How to floss
Flossing is very important if you want to have fresh breath. No matter how well you brush your teeth there are limits to where the bristles of the brush can reach. Proper flossing removes the plaque and food particles that brushing is unable to remove. If you do not floss, the food particles between your teeth will start to break down and cause you to have bad breath. Not only does it cause bad breath but it may even cause gum disease and tooth decay.
It is recommended that you floss at least once a day, but try to floss before every brushing. The most important time to floss is before you go to sleep for the night so the particles between your teeth do not have all night to sit there decaying. Make sure you at least do it every night before bed.
There are basically two types of floss from which to choose:
Nylon (multifilament) floss: This floss contains a lot of intertwined strands.
- Pros: Can dip and contain mouthwash better, some say it removes particles better.
- Cons: Tends to break easier, strands my get stuck between teeth, thicker and may be more difficult to get between teeth.
PTFE (monofilament) floss: This floss is usually made of teflon and is a single strand.
- Pros: Easier to slide between teeth.
- Cons: Tends to bunch up and become ineffective if you use the same portion of the floss to floss many teeth.
Try both types to figure out which you prefer. Check out BreathMD's Floss Review Section to see what floss is rated best by our members.
Floss before brushing. Flossing loosens plaque and particles between your teeth and brushing after can help further remove them. After you brush make sure you use mouthwash or swish water in your mouth and then spit it out to remove the unwanted particles out of your mouth.
- Get a piece, 16-22 inches long.
- Wind one end around 1 index finger about 3 times and wind the other end around your other index finger about 3 or more times.
- Grip the floss with your thumbs and slide between a tooth, move the floss up and down and in and out multiple times from different angles.
- As you floss your teeth you want a fresh portion of the floss, so unwind a loop from one finger and wind it up the other as you go.
- After you are done with all your teeth, make sure you rinse your mouth out to remove all the dislodged particles.
Note: If your gums start to bleed a little, don't worry it happens. Just be a little more gentle next time.