Dental floss can be used to remove food residues and dental plaque between your teeth. This is important, because a toothbrush cannot access the interdental space between your teeth. Importantly, the formation of dental plaque between your teeth is the major cause of oral health issues, like gum inflammation and dental caries, which can be greatly reduced by using dental floss. Actually, the use of dental floss can help removing dental plaque by up to 80%1.
How to use dental floss
When using dental floss, make sure you are not acting too harsh, as you might damage your gums. When you start dental flossing for the first times, your gums may bleed a little. However, after a couple of times this shouldn´t be the case anymore. If your gums are still bleeding after a couple of sessions of dental flossing, chances are high you are not using a correct flossing technique.
As a general rule, you shouldn´t be dental flossing too aggressively, because that will do more harm than good, especially if your gums are regularly bleeding after flossing. The main purpose of dental flossing is to mechanically remove food and dental plaque between your teeth, by using a firm but gentle scraping technique.
Keep regular patterns when dental flossing. For example start at the bottom from left to right, then move to the top from right to left. Also, please don’t forget to floss the back of your last tooth.
Maybe you can watch some videos on dental flossing technique, for example here. Watching is so much better to understand the details of dental flossing than only reading!
Some general tips on dental flossing technique
- Break off 30 cm to 45cm of dental floss and wind a few cm around the index finger of each hand. ( I actually use it only around the index finger of my right hand)
- Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and index fingers, leaving no slack. (I achieve this by pulling the floss tight with my left hand)
- Use a gentle rubbing motion to guide the floss between your teeth.
- A) For your bottom row, use your index finger to guide the dental floss.
- B) For your top row, use your thumb to guide the dental floss.
- The dental floss should not snap into your gums, but rather approach slowly.
- Gently work your way down to the gums into the gumline and back up with a gentle rubbing motion.
- Repeat for each interdental space between your teeth and don’t forget the back of your last tooth (2 in each row).