Flossing is a critical component of home-based preventive dentistry. It is also the one habit that many people know they should establish but find it difficult to do so. There may be a couple of reasons for this:

  • There is a learning curve; flossing is often something that you have to practise to achieve mastery.
  • Many of us were not taught to include flossing as part of our daily dental care routine as children.

The Learning Curve: How to Floss

The Australian Dental Association has produced a series of informative animated videos to educate Australians about their dental health. This video is all about flossing and how it improves the health of your mouth.

Flossing is a skill worth developing because the benefits of daily cleaning between your teeth are significant. In the video above, the Australian Dental Association gives the following tips:

There Are All Kinds of Tools Available. Try Them Out to See Which Works Best for You.

Dr Teo is happy to show you an assortment of tools and to help you choose something that will work well for you.

Floss Before You Brush So Your Toothpaste Can Better Reach the Sides of Your Teeth

By removing the coating of plaque from between your teeth first, your toothpaste will be more likely to come into contact with and strengthen the sides of your teeth.

Your Technique Is Important:

  • For regular floss, wrap 30-40cm around your fingers, leaving your index fingers free to help manoeuvre the floss around your teeth.
  • Wrap more around one side so you can keep revealing new, clean floss as you go.
  • Slowly slide the tape towards the gums. Where your gums look like triangles, floss down both sides of the triangle, resting the floss against the sides of each tooth. The idea is to remove the plaque bacteria that is stuck to the side surfaces of each tooth.
  • Don’t worry if your gums bleed a little. This will generally stop within 1-2 weeks if you keep flossing regularly as your gums become more healthy.

Kids Need to Floss, Too, and They’ll Need Your Help.

Children should begin to floss when their teeth first touch together.

Brushing Only Reaches About 60% of Tooth Surfaces. Floss Reaches the Remaining 40%.

If all you do is brush, your teeth still retain a significant amount of plaque. This puts the spaces between your teeth at great risk of developing cavities and will almost certainly lead to gingivitis (inflamed gums).

Brush at Least Twice Each Day and Floss at Least Once.

Brush in the morning and in the evening just before bedtime. We recommend that you floss in the evenings. This way, every surface of your teeth has been cleaned, and your toothpaste will have the greatest opportunity to reach all of the nooks and crannies overnight.

Other Videos About Flossing

Here are some other videos that talk about the best way to floss.

How to Floss Your Teeth – A Video From the American Dental Association

Flossing Teeth Properly, How to Floss – A Video from Colgate®

Do You Have to Use Floss?

If flossing is too difficult, there are other ways to clean between your teeth.

If you are regularly cleaning between your teeth using one of these floss alternatives, that’s great! The most important thing is that you are cleaning between your teeth using the most appropriate device(s).

If your teeth are being straightened with orthodontic braces, it’s very important to clean around your braces using floss or a floss alternative.

Establishing the Flossing Habit

If you need some help remembering to floss, there are a number of ways to do this.

Don’t Hide the Floss

Many people keep their floss in a cupboard or drawer in the bathroom. After a while, it becomes hidden from view, and so the visual reminder is lost.

Place your floss in a prominent position so that you see it every time you go to brush your teeth. You could also stick a note to your bathroom mirror reminding you to floss. Some people even keep their floss in the shower.

Set Flossing Reminders

Another way to remind yourself is to program a reminder into your mobile device. You can simply set a daily reminder or use one of the many Apps available that encourage you to establish good daily habits.

Let Us Help You With Your Flossing

Our dentist, Dr Ailin Teo, is happy to work with you to eliminate all of the barriers that might be preventing you from flossing or cleaning between your teeth. Please feel free to call our dental practice in Geelong to make an appointment for a check-up and clean.