Best Way to Floss My Teeth

Flossing is an integral part of dental hygiene, playing a critical role in maintaining oral health. Here’s everything you need to know about the best ways to floss your teeth, its importance, and tips for effective oral hygiene.

Understanding Oral Hygiene and Flossing

What is Oral Hygiene?

Oral hygiene is the practice of keeping one’s mouth clean and free from disease. It involves several key activities, including brushing, cleaning between teeth (interdental cleaning), and regular dental check-ups​​​​. The Australian Dental Association (ADA) emphasises the importance of good oral hygiene for overall health and well-being​​.

The Role of Flossing in Oral Hygiene

Flossing is a form of interdental cleaning that is crucial for removing plaque and food particles from areas that a toothbrush can’t reach. Regular flossing is just as important as toothbrushing for maintaining oral health​​.

The Importance of Flossing

  • Preventing Plaque Build-up: Plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, forms on the surface of the teeth and can lead to gum disease if not cleared away​​.
  • Avoiding Gum Disease and Tooth Decay: Flossing eliminates food particles and bacteria that contribute to plaque formation, reducing the risk of gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis, as well as tooth decay​​​​.
  • Enhancing Overall Health: There’s a connection between oral health and systemic conditions like heart disease and diabetes. Regular flossing can lower the risk of these conditions​​.

Flossing Techniques and Recommendations

Daily Flossing

The ADA recommends cleaning between your teeth at least once per day. This is essential even for those with gum disease, who may need to clean more often​​.

Correct Flossing Technique

Proper flossing technique is key to effective cleaning. Here are some steps to follow:

  • Take 30-45 cm of floss and wind it around your middle fingers.
  • Gently slide the floss between your teeth using a gentle up and down motion.
  • Ensure the floss goes slightly under the gums to remove plaque from this area.
  • Use a new section of floss for each space or rinse the floss under running water​​.

Alternatives to Traditional Floss

If you find traditional floss challenging, consider alternatives like floss picks or water flossers, which can be equally effective​​.

Education and Public Awareness

Importance of Education

The ADA stresses the importance of embedding oral hygiene into educational curricula and health awareness campaigns. This includes education for parents, carers, and health care providers, ensuring that they understand the significance of oral hygiene from a young age​​.

Overcoming Challenges in Flossing

Bleeding Gums

If your gums bleed during flossing, this doesn’t mean you should stop. It may indicate the need for more frequent flossing. However, persistent bleeding should be checked by a dentist​​.


Flossing is a simple yet crucial aspect of oral hygiene. By incorporating it into your daily routine, you not only maintain healthy teeth and gums but also contribute to your overall systemic health. Remember, proper technique and regular practice are key to reaping the full benefits of flossing.

At Dentists In Annerley, QLD, Australia, we pride ourselves on setting the highest standard of patient care, ensuring an experience that fuses comfort with unmatched dental health services. Our clinic acts as an oasis for advanced periodontal treatments, performed with precision and a delicate touch to guarantee the best oral health outcomes for our patients. Centrally located for Annerley residents and those from surrounding suburbs, we invite individuals from Woolloongabba, Greenslopes, Fairfield, Yeronga, Moorooka, Tarragindi, Holland Park, West End, Highgate Hill, Dutton Park, Coorparoo, Carina Heights, Mount Gravatt, East Brisbane, and Stones Corner to partake in exceptional dental care. Our dedication to oral health is solid, with a personalized approach to periodontal care that is aimed at enhancing both the resilience and aesthetics of our patients’ smiles.

In the bustling environment of Annerley and its nearby areas, Dentists In Annerley emerges as a haven of dental health and well-being. We address a broad range of dental needs, from routine examinations and cleanings to emergency dental treatments, all the while utilizing modern CEREC technology for immediate ceramic restorations. Our broad suite of services spans root canal therapies, wisdom tooth extractions, and the creation of tailored veneers, crowns, and implants, in addition to specializing in periodontics, pediatric dentistry, and orthodontic aligners. Our facility is equipped with contemporary X-ray machinery, ensuring an expedient and accurate diagnostic and treatment journey. We have meticulously designed every aspect of our practice to optimize the efficiency, thoroughness, and comfort of your visit.

The guiding principle at Dentists In Annerley is the belief that exemplary dental care should be within reach for everyone. We are committed to offering a comprehensive variety of dental services that cater to the varied dental concerns of our patients. From preventive maintenance to the craftsmanship of cosmetic dentistry, and the detailed care required for complex dental treatments, our team at Dentists In Annerley is steadfast in their quest for dental excellence. This dedication is apparent in our gentle demeanor and the detailed attention we apply in each treatment, ensuring every patient leaves with a smile that is as radiant in appearance as it is in health.

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Frequently Ask Questions

  • Oral hygiene is the practice of keeping the mouth clean to prevent dental problems like cavities, gingivitis, and bad breath. Good oral hygiene is crucial not only for dental health but also for overall well-being. It involves practices like brushing, flossing, and regular dental check-ups​​.


  • Flossing plays a pivotal role in removing plaque and food particles from areas that toothbrushes can’t reach, particularly between the teeth and along the gumline. Regular flossing prevents gum disease and tooth decay, contributing significantly to overall oral hygiene​​.


  • The main benefits of flossing include preventing plaque build-up, avoiding gum disease and tooth decay, eliminating bad breath, and contributing to overall systemic health by potentially reducing the risk of conditions related to poor oral hygiene, like heart disease and diabetes​​​​​​​​.


  • The Australian Dental Association recommends cleaning between your teeth at least once per day. People with gum disease may need to clean between their teeth more often to maintain optimal oral health​​.

  • Proper flossing involves taking about 30-45 cm of floss, winding it around the middle fingers, and using a gentle up-and-down motion to clean between the teeth. It’s important to ensure the floss goes slightly under the gums to remove plaque from this area as well​​.


  • Yes, regular flossing can prevent gum disease. It removes plaque, a leading cause of gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis, from areas a toothbrush can’t reach. This reduction in plaque accumulation along the gumline significantly lowers the risk of developing gum disease​​.


  • Not flossing can lead to a build-up of plaque and food particles between the teeth, which can result in tooth decay, gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis, and bad breath. These oral health issues can progress to more serious conditions if left untreated​​.


  • Flossing contributes to overall systemic health. Research has shown a connection between oral health and systemic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory illnesses. By maintaining good oral hygiene through regular flossing, you can lower the risk of these conditions and improve your overall health​​.

  • Yes, there are alternatives to traditional string floss, such as floss picks, water flossers, and interdental brushes. These alternatives can be particularly helpful for those who find traditional floss difficult to use or for those with braces or dental work that makes flossing challenging​​.


  • Bleeding gums during flossing can be a sign of gingivitis or inflamed gums, especially if you’re new to flossing or don’t do it regularly. While it’s not unusual, persistent bleeding should be addressed by a dentist. Remember, healthy gums don’t bleed, so improving your flossing routine can help resolve this issue​​.


  • To incorporate flossing into your daily routine, set a specific time for it, such as before bed or after brushing in the morning. Make it a habit by consistently flossing at the same time each day. Keeping floss accessible in the bathroom can serve as a visual reminder.
  • Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on teeth and is the primary cause of tooth decay and gum disease. If not removed through brushing and flossing, plaque can harden into tartar, leading to more serious dental issues​​.
  • Yes, flossing can help prevent tooth decay by removing plaque and food particles from between the teeth and along the gumline, areas that a toothbrush might miss. This reduction in plaque and bacteria lowers the risk of tooth decay​​.
  • If your gums continue to bleed despite regular flossing, it’s important to consult a dentist. Persistent bleeding could be a sign of gum disease or incorrect flossing technique. A dentist can provide personalized advice and check for underlying issues​​.

  • Flossing is important for children as it helps prevent plaque buildup, tooth decay, and gum disease from an early age. Teaching children to floss regularly fosters good oral hygiene habits that can last a lifetime.
  • Interdental cleaning refers to cleaning the spaces between teeth, which is crucial for removing plaque and food particles. This type of cleaning, commonly done through flossing, is vital for preventing gum disease and tooth decay​​.
  • Yes, flossing can improve bad breath by removing the food particles and bacteria that contribute to unpleasant odors. Regular flossing helps maintain a cleaner, fresher mouth​​.
  • Water flossers can be an effective alternative to traditional flossing, especially for individuals with braces, dental implants, or those who find string floss difficult to use. They use a stream of water to remove food particles and plaque between teeth​​.
  • To teach a child to floss correctly, start by demonstrating the technique yourself. Use flossers designed for children and guide them through the process, ensuring they understand the importance of gentle movements to avoid harming the gums.
  • The best time to floss is a matter of personal preference. Some people prefer flossing before brushing to loosen and then remove debris with brushing, while others prefer flossing after brushing to ensure removal of any remaining particles. The most important factor is to floss daily​​.
  • A thorough flossing session should ideally last at least 1-2 minutes. This ensures enough time to carefully floss between each tooth, reaching below the gumline and along the sides of each tooth.

  • The best type of floss depends on your individual needs and preferences. Waxed floss is easier to slide between closely spaced teeth, while unwaxed floss makes a squeaking sound to indicate plaque removal. Thicker floss or dental tape can be beneficial for wider gaps between teeth.
  • Studies have shown a link between poor oral health and systemic conditions like heart disease. Flossing reduces the amount of bacteria and inflammation in the mouth, potentially decreasing the risk of these conditions​​.
  • Yes, flossing is essential for those with braces or dental implants. Special orthodontic floss or floss threaders can be used to navigate around braces, while gentle flossing is recommended for dental implants to maintain gum health.
  • Incorrect flossing technique can potentially harm the gums or teeth. Flossing too aggressively can cause gum recession or damage, while improper technique may not effectively remove plaque.
  • Flossing is often overlooked due to a lack of awareness about its benefits, difficulty in mastering the technique, or simply forgetting to include it in daily routines.
  • Floss picks can be easier to use and more convenient, especially for those with limited dexterity. However, they might not be as effective in cleaning tightly spaced teeth compared to traditional floss.
  • Dental professionals play a key role in educating patients about the importance of flossing, demonstrating proper techniques, and encouraging regular oral hygiene practices.
  • Flossing removes plaque from between the teeth and along the gumline, where gingivitis starts. Regular flossing can prevent the progression of gingivitis to periodontitis, a more severe form of gum disease​​.
  • Effective flossing leads to cleaner-feeling teeth, reduced bleeding of the gums over time, fresher breath, and a decrease in gum inflammation and sensitivity.