825 S Waukegan Rd, Lake Forest, IL 60045

flossing guide

The only Flossing Guide you will Ever Need


You’ve been hearing about the importance of flossing throughout your life, but, according to one study, nearly 60% of all people do not floss at all. Moreover, many people who do floss actually are doing so with the wrong technique. When it comes to flossing, you have other options besides traditional string floss. Learn about flossing tools and the right technique for each in this guide, provided by the oral health professionals at Lake Forest Smiles.

String floss

Traditional dental floss is by far the most convenient and cheapest to use. The most common mistake with string floss is flossing incorrectly by popping it between your teeth and forcefully injuring your gums.

Here is the proper technique:

  • Cut a piece of floss at least 18 inches long.
  • Wrap the floss around the pointer fingers on each hand, using your thumb to gently force the floss
  • between your teeth.
  • Start at the back of your mouth and glide the floss in an up and down motion along the sides of your teeth and in a C curve as your sweep it along your gum line.

Floss pick

This looks like a toothpick with a strand of floss attached to one end. It can be convenient when flossing on-the-go, or for those that don’t like wrapping dirty floss around their fingers. When using floss picks, refrain from forcing the floss between your teeth. Use a gentle, gliding, back-and-forth motion until the floss fits comfortably between your teeth, then bring the floss up the curvature of your gums. Repeat this process until you’ve flossed all of your teeth.

Water flosser

A water flosser cleans large gaps or spaces like between braces or under implants and bridges. Water flossers are easier for kids and people with dexterity issues that may be unable to fit their fingers in their mouths to floss with string floss. However, some people prefer to use a water flosser to rinse away loosened debris after using string floss first.

Interdental brush

An interdental brush removes the plaque buildup that forms in any larger gaps between teeth. These gaps are too wide for traditional string floss or a floss pick. Interdental brushes come in different sizes, so be sure to choose the right one; the larger the gap between your teeth, the bigger the brush that you need. Trying to force a larger interdental brush between teeth or into your gums can damage the soft tissue. Using the brush is as simple as sliding the brush gently back and forth in the gap, cleaning the sides of the tooth as you remove the plaque. Floss brushes are also helpful to clean between brackets and wires if you wear braces.

The most important thing about flossing isn’t necessarily what you use but that you actually do it. You should floss or clean between your teeth at least once a day. Talk to your dental hygienist at your next appointment to find out if you’re flossing correctly or using the right tools to get the job done.

Preventive Dentistry in Lake Bluff, Lake Forest, and Lincolnshire, Illinois

Unsure whether you’re flossing the right way? When you visit your Lake Bluff dentist for a dental cleaning, one of our dental hygienists will be happy to review your flossing techniques with you to ensure you’re doing so effectively. If you need a cleaning or are looking for a new dentist near you, Lake Forest Smiles accepts new patients. Give our office a call at (847) 234-4800 to schedule your consultation.

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