Flosser Types There are many kinds of between-the-teeth cleaners to choose from.

Flossing is an essential part of your oral care routine. It is one of the best ways to keep your teeth and gums healthy. However, it takes a little practice to floss well. Here are some tips to help.

Brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste is important. But toothbrush bristles cannot reach the spaces between teeth. These spaces trap bits of food and plaque, a sticky film of decay-causing bacteria. Dental floss or other between-the-teeth cleaners can help keep these tooth surfaces plaque-free.

Start by choosing a brand of floss that shows the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance. This says that the product has met the ADA’s standards for safety and effectiveness. Your dental office may also recommend certain products for your oral health needs.

Ask your dentist or hygienist to show you how to floss easily and effectively. If you have trouble handling floss, you may want to use a floss holder. Eating a healthy diet, limiting snacks, and having regular checkups will help you keep your smile healthy for years to come.

Basic Flossing

The following are tips for flossing effectively. It may feel clumsy at first, but don’t give up. It takes a little time to get the hang of it.

1. Break off about 18 inches of floss
and wind most of it around one of
your index fingers. Wind the
remaining floss around a finger of the
opposite hand. This finger will take
up the used floss.
2. Hold the floss tightly between
your thumbs and forefingers.
Guide the floss between your
teeth, using a gentle back and forth
motion. To avoid injuring your gums,
never snap the floss into gum tissue.
3. 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.
4. Hold the floss tightly against
the tooth. Gently rub the side of
the tooth with an up and down motion.
Avoid using a sawing motion once the
floss is worked into place.
5. Repeat this method on the
rest of your teeth. As you move
from tooth to tooth, unwind the
clean floss with one finger and
take up the used floss with the
finger on the opposite hand. Do
not forget to floss the back side
of the last tooth.


American Dental Association
Patient education content ©2014 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. “ADA” and the “ADA” Logo are registered trademarks of the American Dental Association.