Step 6: Floss teeth

Curve the floss against the tooth surface, maximizing surface contact between the floss and your teeth. Rub the floss up and down against the tooth surface, sliding from the tooth contact point up into the gum line and back.

Work the floss against one tooth then against the adjacent tooth, shifting your grip and direction as you move to the next tooth surface. Be careful not to damage the gum tissue between the teeth (called the papilla) as you shift the floss.

Pop the floss back out between the tooth contact, removing any dislodged debris, and move along to the next spot. Any remaining debris may need to be pushed out with a tool like a Stimudent, Proxibrush, or dental irrigator.

It's best to start from one spot and work systematically through your mouth to be sure you don't miss any teeth. Be sure to include the back side of your last molars as well.

Note: some adjacent teeth may not actually make contact. Be extra careful cleaning these spaces, as they are particularly prone to collecting food. You should consult your dentist about any open contacts, as he or she may advise closing these open contacts.
<p>Sometimes I hear of people experiencing discomfort because the act of flossing tightens the floss around the fingers causing discomfort. Do you have any suggestions that might help? I remember when I was about 14 I learned the importance of flossing. Up until that point I rarely did it, and I always had to get my teeth drilled. I finally tried taking my dentist's advice and that was the end of my cavities. Thanks for the article!</p><p>http://www.ricerollingsondentistry.com/</p>
When I was at <a href="http://www.grins4kids.com" rel="nofollow">Barrington dental</a> the other day I remember hearing the dentist tell my son that flossing is more important than brushing. I decided I need a refresher and will start doing it every night. Thanks for the help!
We just got back from our <a href="http://www.couchmandental.com" rel="nofollow">colorado springs dentist</a> and turns out we all need to floss more. Thanks for the advice. I've never tried them but how are those little flossers that have a piece of floss on one side and a toothpick on the other.
one thing i found that helps you hold the floss better is if you tie loops in the end, its easier to hold on to and doesnt cut off the circulation in your fingers
Nice! <br>Flossing is as a matter of fact more important than brushing. But of course, we have to do both. <br>there is very good info about dental cavities and gum disease here: <br>http://bertthedentist.com/dental-cavity/ <br>http://bertthedentist.com/bleeding-gums/ <br>http://bertthedentist.com/gum-disease-treatment/ <br> <br>take care, <br>thanks for the tips!
Good job on flossing your teeth! See your dentist every six months! And if you are in the <a href="http://www.drwalkerddsmd.com/Services.php" rel="nofollow">Salt Lake Area</a> there are plenty of Dentists there.
Great instructable. I feel dirty ..... I'm off to floss!
This is a great instructable. I regularly floss in the manner described and I have great looking teeth. I hadn't previously tried the use of the two middle fingers for doling out the floss, but it seems like a great idea and I'll try it. Good work, flosser! - Jon Wyderka -
Thank you for this. I have been flossing for decades, but not very well. Only a couple years ago a dental hygienist explained about getting down under the gum line with a sawing action. After reading your Instructable I made a more serious attempt at doing that. Even though I floss daily, I was amazed how much bleeding there was the first day. It was significantly less the second day, and has disappeared after that. My teeth and gums &quot;feel&quot; cleaner when I finish, too.
Excellent tips! Thanks!
don't you floss after you brush?
This is another personal preference issue. I think that it is fine to do either first so long as one both brushes and flosses. My own preference is to floss, and potentially push out crud from between my teeth, then brush it away.
You should make another 'ible on how to floss your teeth when you have braces.
Darren, use of the "floss threaders" are the most efficient type of flossing method, in my opinion, but yes time consuming. Remember though, these are your teeth-forever. Floss threaders may be purchased OTC, very inexpensive. Another product that may help is called a "Go-Between Cleaner", the very smallest brushes used on the facial parts near your brackets. There is a new product called a "Platypus Flosser", i believe you can get them on-line, same concept as the floss picks, but MADE for braces. All dental products are about efficiency, keep practicing! Also use a mouth rinse that has the keywords "kills bacteria that cause gingivitis", even if you have to get generic brands, that will help keep the bacterial load in the mouth down. Plaque forms within 20 minutes after we brush our teeth, and tartar (calculus) forms within 24 to 72 hours if we do not remove it from between or on the teeth. When you return to the orthodontist, be sure to have them SHOW you best methods for cleaning your teeth & braces, that is part of the experience. Always, Tree RDH
Tree RDH, excellent response. Thanks. Bob
Darren, good suggestion. I will try to work on that. I had assistance (a lot) on the first one from Christy. It would be a good solo test! Bob
Bob, EXCELLENT job! Tree RDH
I am a dentist. This style of flossing is called the Bass Sulcular Method. Great job!
Someone needs to do this for braced teeth...
Very.... ...Graphic.
Doctor, the issue that turned me in to a daily flosser was the smell on the floss after skipping several days. I decided that I didn't want to carry that rotting material in my mouth between my teeth for an extended period of time.
(was talking about the pictures) I'm a daily flosser as well, but unfortunately, my hands are too big to fit into my mouth to get the back of my mouth. I switched to "plackers". They're really handy.
. Excellent iBle! . I suspect nepotism on the Featured flag. heehee Not really. It fully deserves to be Featured. ;)
NachoMahma, she's my little girl!
. Hence the nepotism remark. But I'm sure that if she hadn't Featured it, someone else would have. 100% sure - I scrolled up to Feature it but Christy had beat me to it.
Good job! I always have issues with controlling floss inside my mouth.. Maybe it's too small? ;)
I want your nice teeth!
Marble, thanks! Low sugar, low soft drinks, and brush and floss, floss floss!
Is the kevlar floss that floss that 'feels' like plumbing tape?
"Glide" is the floss that I know that has the Kevlar. It is good for tight contacts because it is slick, and also good when there are rough restorations because it doesn't tear as readily.
as the son of a hygentist i know that this is a great iBle. way to floss
Thanks Hockey88! Hygienists are wonderful. Bob
Most excellent! Here, to celebrate let's all go out for pints! <sub><sup><sub><sup><sub><sup>Of ice cream =D<sub><sup><sub><sup><sub><sup></sup></sub></sup></sub></sup></sub></sup></sub></sup></sub></sup></sub><br/>
Lithium! Thanks. My favorite is Chocolate Chip with 7 or 8 Maraschino Cherries and juice on top---followed by flossing, of course. Bob
Great instructable, flossing makes trips to the dentist much less painful (and expensive).

About This Instructable


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Bio: Hi, I'm Dr. Bob Canida. I've practiced dentistry in Madison, IN for over 30 years. My daughter Christy runs this site.
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