The Proper Way & the Wrong Way to Floss Teeth

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When it comes to flossing your teeth, there is both a right way and a wrong way to get the job done. Learn about the proper way and the wrong way to floss teeth with help from a dentist and chief clinical director in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Caring for Your Teeth
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Video Transcript

Hello, I’m Dr. Cindy Roark, chief clinical director of Coast Dental. Today, I’m going to talk about the right way and the wrong way to floss your teeth. The most important thing to remember is that you need to floss every single day. Plaque doesn’t just build up on the chewing surfaces of teeth, it also builds up in between your teeth. Your toothbrush can’t reach it, only flossing or your dentist can. It doesn’t matter whether you floss in the morning or at night. It also doesn’t matter if you floss before or after you brush your teeth. Personally, I like flossing before I brush my teeth. That way, you get all of the plaque out of the spaces between your teeth, and then wash it away with your toothbrush. The biggest mistakes I see as a dentist are these: People don’t floss every day, they don’t slide the floss all the way up to the gum line, or they snap the floss into the gum line, which can hurt. They use the same section of floss as they move from tooth to tooth, which just transfers the bacteria from one location to another. So, here’s the right way to floss your teeth: Break off about 18 inches of floss, and wind most of it around one of your fingers. Wind the remaining floss around the same finger on the opposite hand. Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers, glide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion. Do not snap the floss into the gums. When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth, and then rub the floss up and down. Then, repeat against the other side. Remove the floss from between those two teeth. Unwrap a new section of floss from between your fingers, and repeat until you’ve flossed between every single tooth and the backside of your last tooth. Thank you for watching. I’m Dr. Cindy Roark with Coast Dental.


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