Flossing should be an integral part of your oral care routine. It only needs to be done once a
day, unlike brushing, and can help prevent bad bacteria from getting stuck between your teeth
and causing problems.
Flossing helps reach all the places in your mouth that your toothbrush can’t reach, such as the
sides of two teeth that touch. Your dentist can show you how to correctly floss during your next
checkup, but how can you know if you’re flossing correctly now?
The following pointers can help you determine how well you’re flossing your teeth!
No Bleeding When Flossing
You shouldn’t bleed when you floss unless it’s your first time flossing in a long time. If you
haven’t flossed in a while, a bit of blood during your first couple times is normal.
If you believe you’re flossing correctly but are still bleeding regularly, see your dentist. This isn’t
normal and could mean that there’s another issue with your smile, such as gum disease.
Flossing, like brushing, should happen gently and shouldn’t irritate the gumline. Remember to
move the floss up and down the sides of your tooth—after all, this is what you’re aiming to
clean, not just pulling the floss back and forth and irritating your gumline.
The Amount of Floss You Use
For every flossing session, you should be using about 15-18 inches of floss. The American Dental
Association recommends using 18 inches. This is because you need to use a clean section of
floss after cleaning each side of your tooth. Otherwise, you’re just distributing plaque around
How much floss you’re using can help determine whether or not you’re flossing correctly. If
you’re using only a few inches, chances are you’re not having the positive impact on your oral
health that you want to be having!
Flossing picks or tools are not recommended for daily flossing; this is because they only allow
for about an inch of floss for your entire mouth. These types of flossers should only be used
when necessary out of convenience.
How Long It Takes You to Floss
Another indicator of whether or not you’re flossing correctly is the amount of time it takes you
to floss. It should take a good five minutes to properly floss in-between all your teeth. When
you’re first beginning your flossing routine, it might take longer, but once you become more
experienced, you should be able to do it in close to five minutes.
You Aren’t Flossing First
Ideally, flossing should be done before brushing. This enables you to remove plaque with your
toothbrush after you floss. When you floss after brushing, you allow the plaque to stay put until
your next brushing. Remember that in order to increase the effectiveness of your oral care
routine, floss first!
If you’re flossing correctly, you shouldn’t be seeing blood, it should take you a few minutes, and
you should be using an ample amount of floss. Are you flossing properly? Have your dentist
show you during your next visit!