How to floss your teeth


  • Use unwaxed floss if possible. Unwaxed floss has fibers that spread out between your teeth and clean better
  • If your floss always tears or cannot be inserted normally, consider Glide floss or a lightly waxed floss
  • Use about 14 inches of floss
  • Wrap it around your middle fingers with about 2-3" in between
  • As you move around your mouth, use one middle finger as a "take-up reel", using fresh floss in each area
  • Grab the floss between your thumb and index finger
  • The further back you go, you will be more comfortable stretching the floss over the tips of your index fingers
  • Gently saw the floss back and forth to get it in between your teeth.  Do not snap it in
  • Stop the sawing motion as soon as the floss is in-between
  • Push the floss against the curve of one tooth
  • Move it up and down, under the gum as far as it will comfortably go
  • Repeat this movement on the tooth next to it
  • Snap the floss up to remove it.  If it catches or shreds, pull it out sideways and re-wrap your middle finger
  • Let your dentist know if the floss consistently shreds or catches



  • Used like a needle threader
  • Pull floss underneath connected restorations
  • Use for fixed bridges and between connected implants
  • Use for braces and permanent retainers
  • OK to floss with a doubled piece of floss as pulled through by the threader


  • Floss swords work nicely if dexterity or access is a problem
  • They are quite handy and hygienic to keep in purses or cars for "spot-flossing"
  • Make sure that the floss curves around the tooth surfaces as above 



Proxybrushes or go-betweens

  • Work well when there are larger spaces between teeth, crowns, or bridges
  • Still need to floss, as they do not clean the area of contact
  • Good for general cleaning around braces
  • Good for around implants



FLOSSING ADJUNCTS:  superfloss or thornton's 

  • "Fluffy" floss on a long string
  • Stiff end to push in between teeth
  • Regular floss on the other end
  • Cleans difficult and hard-to-reach spaces





  • NEVER a replacement for flossing
  • Does not remove adherent plaque bacteria
  • Is very good at removing gross food debris
  • Can use therapeutic mouthwashes as an irrigant
  • Very good for braces and many implant restorations