For some people, flossing is often avoided because it can be surprisingly complicated. While keeping up with your health by doing things like exercising and eating better, it is important to add flossing to that list. If you don’t floss every day, you invite gum diseases, such as: gingivitis, periodontitis, and tooth decay. Many people are aware of the risks from not flossing regularly, but they still can’t find the time to add it to their lists of things to do. This is why more than 47% of adults have some sort of periodontal disease. “The nice thing about flossing is, once you start, your teeth feel so icky if you don’t do it, that you just have to continue,” says Kimberly Harms, DDS, a dentist from Farmington, MN.

Many people use the excuse of “I can never do it right”, so here are some flossing tips so that next time you will have a much more effective and less frustrating experience.


The main problem people have when using string floss is they feel like they’re using it incorrectly. No matter how they use it, they feel like it’s not doing the job. People often force the floss into their gums, which is a no-no.

Here are some helpful tips when using string floss:

  1. Use 18 inches of floss and wind the floss around each middle finger.
  2. Make sure to get a tight grasp on the string between your forefinger and your thumb. Slide the string gently in an up-and-down motion.
  3. DO NOT SNAP! Snapping happens when you apply too much pressure on the gums while attempting to get the floss between the teeth. Never force your floss into place!
  4. Use the floss gently: Do not “saw” away at your gums. If you are in pain while flossing, this may be because you’re doing it too hard.
  5. Take your time: when you rush while flossing, you may end up hurting your gums. Being steady and consistent is more important. If you’re already unsure of how to floss, rushing will not help the process. When you rush repeatedly, you end up missing plaque in between your teeth and may even cause gum recession.

If you’re like many people and you hate using string floss, a good alternative is a floss pick. Floss pick is a plastic tool that holds a piece of dental floss on one end. The other end is a plastic pick used as a toothpick for large food particles.

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