Guidelines For Flossing

Tear off a sufficient piece of floss (about 18″). We recommend the POH unwaxed type. Wrap the floss around your middle fingers, this leaves the fingers with the most dexterity freedom to work. Begin at the back of the last tooth either top or bottom, right or left. Keep the fingers of right and left hand about an inch apart. You will have the most success using the Illuminated magnifying mirror when flossing.

Flossing the Upper Right

Your left Index finger holds floss up against inside of teeth. Right thumb guides floss between teeth with gentle side to side motion until you reach the bottom of the gum crevice. Use the thumb to hold the floss to the back or distal surface of the tooth as you come down to the biting surface. The index finger will guide the floss against the front or mesial surface. So you will be alternating thumb and index finger as you clean the back and front sides between each tooth.

Remember to hug the tooth as you go in and out. Before you go under the gum, wrap the floss around the tooth so that you can get to the bottom of the crevice (the space between the gum and the tooth) without any damage.

Flossing the Upper Left

When you get to the middle of the front teeth, switch fingers. The right index finger will be to the inside and the left thumb and index finger will be on the outside. Duplicate the same motions as you did on the right side.

Flossing the Lower Left

The left Index finger is on the outside and the right index finger on the inside and are the guides for the floss as it passes from front to back. The thumbs help to push the floss up and out from between the teeth.

Flossing the Lower Right

When you get to the middle of the lower front teeth, the left index finger switches to the inside while the right index finger moves to the outside.

Leave adequate time for you to develop your skills. Begin with just a few teeth, get the movement and rhythms of the fingers. Itâs like a musical instrument; give yourself time to practice and develop dexterity. Flossing needs to be done in love. If youâre upset or angry, wait until another time. Your teeth and gums need the tenderness and caring they deserve for all the gifts of work they have given you. Dental hygienists are specially trained to guide you in mastering the art of flossing.

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Written by Jacob Trager DDS

Explore Wellness in 2021