How Do You Floss Properly?

floss-and brushQuestion: How Do You Floss Properly?

Answer: Flossing is an absolute necessity and not just for helping to insure that you keep all of your teeth. More and more studies are showing that the effects of gum disease extend beyond your gums and into your body.

Studies linking gum disease to heart disease have been conducted. Other bodily diseases are also suspected of stemming from or being exacerbated by the bacteria that slips into the body via gum disease openings in the mouth.

I’ve been looking around for the answer to the same question: How do you floss?

There appears to be a lot of conflicting information floating around the Internet. I’ve seen some articles that say you should only use an up-and-down motion and not a back-and-forth motion. I wondered about that when I saw it.

To get the answer to this question I had to go visit a periodontist (dentist with additional training in gum health and disease) This gentlemen has spent over 20 years working on peoples’ gums.

He told me that it makes no difference if you use a back-and-forth or an up-and-down motion. He said the whole purpose of flossing is to remove plaque.

Plaque begins to form again within about thirty minutes of removal. The first kind of bacteria that grow in the plaque are not the kind that produce dental caries and gum disease.

However, in about 48 hours the kind of bacteria that do cause those diseases starts to grow in the plaque.

Therefore the plaque needs to be removed daily.

If you floss daily, but miss some spots, then that plaque will not have been removed and you will still face the problem of ‘bad’ bacterial proliferation.

He also told me something about flossing too hard. If you floss too hard you can make a cut in the gum. It may not bleed but your gum will be tender. Then you just lay off it for a day. The floss can only go so far before the gum squeezes the tooth tightly. There is no need to try and go beyond that point, this is where you can injure the gums.

Personally, I like to make 10-25 up-and-down movements per section of tooth. It takes a while to floss, but I want to be sure that I’m getting as much as I possibly can.


If you are having trouble stopping your gums from bleeding, you may want to work on your flossing technique. Both the quality and quantity of flossing may need improvement.

In my own case, regular flossing and brushing were not enough to stop my gums from bleeding (though my flossing technique may have needed work at the time).

However, daily use of the hydrofloss did get my gums to stop bleeding.

You can read about the tools that I have personally used to help fight gum disease.

Gum Disease – Keep up to date on gum disease
with FREE articles, information and resources
(email kept confidential)



* This post is for information purposes only and not meant to provide advice. If you need directions on flossing, visit your dentist for proper guidance. If you have or think you might have gum disease or any other oral health problem, visit your dentist or periodontist for diagnosis and treatment.



Tags: , , , ,

About the author