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Don't Be Strung Up By Floss: How-To Guide For Flossing

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Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

Knowing how to floss properly is essential to maintain good oral hygiene. Flossing helps remove plaque and helps prevent cavities and gum problems by cleaning those tight spaces between the teeth that your toothbrush can't reach. Take the time to learn how to floss properly to ensure your teeth are healthy and beautiful for years to come. 

Floss Once a Day

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends flossing your teeth once a day. If you adopt the habit of flossing before you go to bed at night, you won't need to worry about flossing more than that. Excessive flossing is ineffective and can actually cause damage and irritation to sensitive gum tissue. 

Use a Gentle Touch

It's important to be gentle when flossing. Many people apply a lot of pressure or use a vigorous sawing motion, thinking this will clean their teeth. But this kind of forceful flossing can irritate the gums. Instead, floss lightly. Do not force or snap the floss against the gums. Try to use the side of the tooth to slide the floss gently into place.

Apply the Right Technique

Instead of applying too much force or flossing excessively, use the right flossing technique to leave your teeth sparkling clean without any pain.

  1. Dispense about 45 centimetres of floss. 
  2. Hold a short amount of floss between your thumb and fingers, and insert it between your teeth. 
  3. Curve the floss around each tooth in a "C" shape. 
  4. Gently move the floss using a slow back-and-forth and up-and-down motion, including under the gumline. 

Be careful not to apply too much pressure. Use a new, clean section of floss for each tooth. 

Oral Care Center articles are reviewed by an oral health medical professional. This information is for educational purposes only. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist, physician or other qualified healthcare provider. 

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