Flossing your teeth offers many benefits. Foremost among these is that it helps in preventing gum diseases which generally start at the gum line if proper dental care techniques are not adhered to. Flossing your teeth on a regular basis will also help get rid of the plaque that might be forming in these areas. Brushing your teeth on a regular basis is a good oral care technique but it is not always 100% effective. There are areas of your teeth and the gum that the bristles of your toothbrush will simply not reach and these will require extra attention.
Unfortunately, most people only have teeth brushing as part of their dental care routine. Only a minority will take a step further and incorporate extra dental care techniques such as flossing. Even those who do it on a regular basis may not be doing this the right way. Here are some useful tips on how you can floss correctly and achieve excellent dental health.

Start by Washing Your Hands

This is an often ignored step. Before you touch the floss, make sure you thoroughly wash your hands to avoid transferring germs and pathogens on to your gums.

Winding the Floss

Wind the dental floss on your middle or index fingers of both hands while ensuring you have left sufficient segments of the floss that will perform the cleaning action. Wrapping the thread on the middle finger will allow you to manipulate the floss around your gums using your index fingers. You can pinch the floss in between your thumb and your index finger and use the thumb in directing the floss between the upper parts of the teeth.


Ensure you have left at least an inch or two of the floss between the fingers. You can then use the index fingers in guiding the floss in between the surfaces of the lower teeth.


The floss should be guided gently between your teeth in a zigzag motion. Make it firm and gentle so that the floss does not snap in the process. Wrap the floss around each tooth to make a C-shape and floss your teeth in this position.


In the sliding motion, you slide the floss up and down on the surface of each tooth. You should also do this below the gum line as well as at the back of each tooth. Do this for each tooth and don’t forget to unroll fresh parts of the floss for effective cleaning action. As you unroll fresh sections in one hand, roll off the used sections of the floss onto a finger on the other hand. Use your thumb to guide the floss as desired.

This technique can be used with every kind of floss, whether the floss is waxed or unwaxed. You can even do the same with dental tapes. What is important is not really the type of the floss but the technique that you use to floss your teeth. With the right technique, you will achieve the same result irrespective of the type of the flossing material. However, it is still important to know the various types of floss in the market to help you choose what would be most ideal for your flossing needs. These include the following:

• A nylon or multifilament
• A PTFE or monofilament

With the nylon floss, you can choose from a waxed or unwaxed floss that you can find in various flavours. It is made of multiple strands of nylon which may be unwoven when flossing between the teeth or between tight contact points. The PTFE floss is costlier and being a single filament, does not unravel easily when used to floss between the teeth. Both will still serve you well when they are used correctly.