Good Oral Health- Flossing
Bacteria in the mouth can hide in those tight and narrow gaps between the teeth: the areas a toothbrush can’t reach. It is very important to clean these areas, and one effective way to do this is by flossing.
There is a learning curve to the process because floss can be fiddly stuff. You might even notice your gums bleeding a little when you first start to floss, but according to the Australian Dental Association (and we can certainly vouch for this!) this bleeding will lessen or stop over time.
It’s a great time to start flossing again! For a refresher, or even if you’re starting from scratch, read the ADA’s step-by-step flossing procedure.
Protect your teeth with these pro tips for flossing from the Australian Dental Association
- There are all kinds of flossing tools available. Try them out to see which works for you.
- Floss before you brush so your toothpaste can better reach those gaps and corners.
- For regular floss, wrap 30-40cm around your fingers, leaving your index fingers free to help.
- Wrap more around one side so you can keep revealing new, clean tape as you go.
- Slowly saw the tape towards the gums. Don’t hit the gums suddenly.
- Where your gums look like triangles, clean down both sides of the triangle.
- Don’t worry if your gums bleed a little. This will stop within 1-2 weeks if you keep flossing regularly.
- Kids need to floss, too, and they’ll need your help. This is a good way to do it.
- Brushing only reaches about 60% of tooth surfaces. Flossing equals 40%.
- Brush twice each day and floss at least once.
This article was first published on August 18, 2012. It was updated on August 7, 2019.