How to Floss Correctly

Even if you’re already been routinely brushing as recommended by Dr. McCool, you may not be doing enough to prevent the onset of tooth decay and gum disease. While dentists like Dr. Harry W McCool of Lilburn, GA agree that regular brushing your is an essential part of your oral hygiene regimen, flossing is just as important. Only the plaque and bacteria that are easy to reach are removed when brushing. 

Plaque is a sticky but clear and colorless product created in your mouth when food particles and saliva combine. It adheres to your teeth and the bacteria that naturally live in our mouths prosper feeding off it. The digestive acids of the bacteria eventually begin to eat away at your tooth enamel which can lead to cavities, infections and even gum disease. 

Why Is Flossing So Important?

Flossing can remove the plaque that your toothbrush can’t easily reach in places like between your teeth before it begins to erode your precious enamel. But, if you’re going to floss it’s essential that you make sure you are flossing correctly and effectively. It’s easier to prevent tooth decay and gum disease than cure it. Flossing can prevent you from needing painful, time-consuming and potentially expensive dental procedures.

How to Floss Correctly

1. Wind floss around your middle fingers to create a length of floss about eighteen inches long. Use your thumbs and forefingers to move the floss. You should keep more around one finger than the other so you can access a fresh length of floss as you go. Bacteria that has been removed on floss can linger and make you sick if reintroduced later

2. Push the floss into the space between two teeth and use a gentle “sawing” (back and forth) motion all the way from the top of the teeth down to their base where they erupt from your gums.

3. Wrap the floss around the side of one tooth in a “U” shape then gently slide up and down your tooth. Repeat this several times, making sure to go slightly underneath the gum-line, then repeat on the other side of the tooth. Do this for each tooth.

4. Your gums may bleed as you floss. A little bleeding is perfectly normal if you don’t floss on a regular basis. This bleeding is due to inflammation caused by the bacteria dwelling there. If you floss daily as recommended by your dentist, in one to two weeks you should stop seeing blood which means the health of your gums is improving.

Floss Picks Are Less Effective Than You Think

Some patients prefer to use floss picks that are widely available at most drug stores.  These “Y” shaped pieces of plastic have floss strung between the “arms” of the “Y” which makes them seem ideal for flossing. However, dentists prefer their patients use a length of “free” floss and your hands since floss picks don’t allow for wrapping them around the tooth in the “U” shape recommended. However, it’s still better than not flossing at all.

Schedule An Appointment With Your Dentist

Most dentists agree that flossing after your brush is best as there will already be less plaque and food particles to get stuck to the floss.  If you have any additional questions about brushing, flossing or your oral health, call (770) 450-4407 or schedule an appointment online with Dr. McCool in Lilburn, GA today.


Harry W. McCool, DDS, PC
Lilburn, GA Dentist

645 Beaver Ruin Rd NW, Suite A
Lilburn, GA 30047

New Patients (770) 450-4407

Current Patients (770) 381-9320


Monday - Thursday
8:00am - 5:00pm

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