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What is flossing?

Flossing is a method of removing bacteria and other debris that cannot be reached by a toothbrush. It generally involves using a very thin piece of synthetic cord you insert and move up and down between the sides of two adjoining teeth. It is like scraping the side surface of the teeth.

Why is flossing important?

Most dental hygienists believe that flossing is the single most important weapon against plaque. In any event, daily flossing is an excellent and proven method for complementing your brushing routine and helping to prevent cavities, periodontal disease, and other dental problems later in life. It also increases blood circulation in your gums. Floss removes plaque and debris that stick between teeth and under the gums.

How often to floss

Flossing is the act of removing plaque and debris from below the gum line and between the teeth and gums. Flossing is the key to preventing plaque buildup, cavities and periodontal disease. It also works to improve circulation in the gum tissue. It is recommended to floss daily.

Spool method

For both of these techniques you would break off a piece of floss about 18 inches long. With the spool method, you would wind the majority of the floss around the middle finger and the remaining floss around the same finger on the opposite hand. It is this finger that would take up the floss as it gets used.

Once you place the floss between the teeth, you would wrap it around the tooth making a “C” shape. Then push the floss up and down making sure it goes below the gum line. This is area that your toothbrush cannot reach but where the most bacteria accumulate. Many people feel comfortable with this method and their dental hygienist checked and approved their effectiveness and technique.


Regular floss (string) is the most messy/difficult to learn, that’s why for beginners I recommend flossers. It has been a great success in my practice, because, as my patients say, it is easy to do, not messy, you don’t have to go to the bathroom to floss, and it is so convenient you can do it watching TV or reading. Proper technique involves going between the teeth, through the tight point, then when you feel the empty space go on the angle inside the gums with up and dawn motion 3-4 times. Repeat on the other side of the space 3-4 times. Many people feel comfortable with this method and their dental hygienist checked and approved their effectiveness and technique.


It is a second very effective tool. Proper technique involves doing circles between the teeth and sweeping motion along the gumline. Many people who have dexterity problems, like to use the sulcabrush.

Waterflosser (Waterpik)

It sprays lightly pressurized water into deep pockets flushing away all the debris and bacteria from inside the gums. It is excellent for cleaning very deep pockets (moderate to severe Periodontitis).Patients report the feeling of extreme freshness after using this machine.

Consult your dental hygienist to select the best tool to clean between the teeth.


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