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Am I Flossing Correctly?

By Mina Levi, DDS 06/26/2014

Many people know that a famous phrase at the dentist’s office is, “you need to floss more”. And you may hear this even if you do floss every day, twice per day. Why? Most likely because you haven’t been flossing correctly. In this article, we will discuss the dos and don’ts of flossing.

Dentist San Francisco Floss Technique

1. What technique to use. Many people take a piece of floss and quickly push it into the gap between the teeth and take it out. Try avoiding this. When flossing correctly, the floss needs to be pushed through the teeth and pressure put on one side (pressing against one of the teeth) and into the gums, then to the other side (pressing against the other tooth) and into the gums.

2. What areas of the floss to use. When flossing your teeth, do not use the same area of the floss for every tooth. This just takes the bacteria that was removed with the floss and puts it back into the space. Make sure that you are using a different (clean!) part of the floss for every tooth space.

3. What type of floss to use. For people who have very tight contacts between the teeth, the best floss to use is most likely the waxed floss so that it easily slides between the teeth. People who are vegetarians and vegans have very tight contacts due to the high fiber diet. However, for everyone else, the best floss to use is probably the un-waxed, woven floss. This floss is thicker and more fibrous and is able to pick up more debris and plaque from between the teeth.

4. How far below the gums to go with the floss. It is very important when you are flossing to make sure that your floss reaches down below the gum line. There is plaque and bacteria that can accumulate in the periodontal pocket (space between the tooth and gum) and can lead to gingivitis and periodontitis if it is not removed.

If you have any questions or concerns about flossing your teeth or flossing techniques, give Dentist San Francisco Mina Levi, DDS a visit on the web at or give us a call at (415) 513-5066.

Topics: Dentist San Francisco, dental floss, dentist floss, flossing, floss, waxed floss, un-waxed floss, woven floss, flossing technique, flossing correctly, cleaning, cleaning teeth