All About Dental Floss

Although we’ve previously discussed the way to choose the best toothbrush, we’ve never focused an entire blog post on the stringy subject of floss. Ultimately, the best floss is whichever one you will use. Let’s face it – for whatever reason, people hate to floss their teeth. As dental health professionals, we don’t get it. How difficult is it to run a piece of fine string between your teeth and gums if it means the difference between a healthy set of teeth and gums and disease and pain? If you struggle to floss, it’s possible you aren’t using the right tool. So, allow us to cover the good, the bad and the ugly so you can get the right tools for the job! 

Floss Story

Dental floss was invented centuries ago. The first man or woman to use bark to scrape off their teeth is the one who should get the credit. Whoever that person was, we are grateful. As you’ve undoubtedly heard, flossing is equally important (if not more so) as brushing. And few people refuse to run a toothbrush across their pearly whites at least once or twice a day. So why do so many determine to start flossing immediately following their appointment with a hygienist only to abandon the habit as soon as they leave our office? In fact, recent studies show that only 40 percent of Americans floss daily

What is Dental Floss


In a nutshell, dental floss is either tape or string, coated with wax or plain, that’s designed to fit between gums and teeth. When used properly, it allows the user to remove plaque from teeth before it hardens and becomes tartar. 

How to Floss

  1. Break off 18 to 24 inches of dental floss. To hold the floss correctly, wind most of it around both middle fingers. Leave only about one to two inches of floss for your teeth.
  2. Next, hold the floss taut with thumbs and index fingers.
  3. Place the floss between two teeth. Gently glide the floss up and down, rubbing it against both sides of each tooth. Don’t glide the floss into your gums. This can scratch or bruise delicate tissue.
  4. As the floss reaches gums, curve it at the base of the tooth to form a C-shape. This allows the floss to enter the space between gums and teeth.
  5. Repeat each step as you move from tooth to tooth. 
  6. With each tooth, use a clean section of floss.
  7. Knowing when to floss contributes to good oral health. Some people maintain a routine of brushing their teeth first and then flossing. However, it’s generally recommended to floss and then brush teeth

When to Floss

Knowing when to floss contributes to good oral health. Some people maintain a routine of brushing their teeth first and then flossing. However, it’s generally recommended to floss and then brush teeth

Flossing helps lift and release food and plaque stuck in between teeth, while brushing removes particles from the mouth. If you brush first and floss afterward, food and plaque remain in the mouth until the next time you brush. The American Dental Association recommends flossing at least once per day and brushing twice per day.

As we’ve discussed in previous posts, if you prefer, use a WaterPik. Or pick up a packet of Plackers. Ultimately, the best type of floss to use is whichever one you will actually use!

About Dr. Fred Wong of Blue Ocean Dentistry in Glendora, California

Dr. Fred Wong and the staff at Blue Ocean Dentistry use the latest available dental treatments, equipment, and materials – all of which make a marked difference in our patients’ experiences. We are committed to helping our patients achieve optimal dental health. We creatively combine dental science and artistry — which can literally redesign your smile. Since even a subtle change in your smile will help you to project self-confidence and high self-esteem, we love helping you feel good about yourself. We deliver the finest dental care at the most reasonable cost and accept most dental insurance plans as well as CareCredit. For more about the dental treatment plans we offer or to schedule an appointment, call today (626) 852-6999.