How Often Should You Floss? Learn How to Floss Properly

Father and son flossing

Maintaining proper oral hygiene is essential for not only a healthy smile but a healthy body overall. Brushing your teeth is generally seen as the benchmark for oral health, but the work doesn’t stop there.

Flossing and most importantly, knowing how to floss correctly is just as important as brushing. Unfortunately, many people don’t know how often they should floss.

In this article, we’ll answer the question about how often you should floss and provide you with tips on how to properly floss.

How Often Are You Supposed to Floss?

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), you’re supposed to floss at least once per day to maintain your oral health. Answering the question, “how often should you floss” will help ensure you remove all food particles from between your teeth and around your gum line.

Consistency is also very important when it comes to flossing. Making it a habit will make the whole process easier in the long run.

How to Floss Properly?

While flossing might seem simple, many people don’t know how to floss properly. Here are some tips to keep in mind when you floss:

  • Use approximately 18-inches of floss and wrap it around your finger leaving a couple of inches in between to work with
  • Hold the floss tightly between your fingers so you can get it in between your teeth
  • Gently insert the floss between your teeth and use a sawing motion
  • Use a c-shape to gently slide the floss along your gum line as far as it will go
  • Use a clean section of floss between each teeth and as often as needed based on the number of food particles you pull out

Best Types of Floss

There are several types of floss but most of us will use nylon, silk or polyester floss in our homes. These types of flosses are perfectly fine and are available in both waxed and unwaxed varieties. They can easily slide between the teeth and remove plaque.

Dental tape is another option as it’s wider and flatter which makes it easier to fit between difficult spaces.

Orthodontic flosses are also available with built-in threaders to get in between teeth and orthodontic appliances such as braces and fixed retainers.

Avoid flosses with potentially toxic and dangerous waxes. In 2019, a study suggested that some flosses containing “forever chemicals” such as PTFE or PFAS (Teflon) expose users to these potentially toxic chemicals. Another wax to avoid is petroleum-based waxes such as microcrystalline. .

Finally, similar to why you wouldn’t brush without a toothpaste, you should also not floss without either dipping your floss into toothpaste or better yet use a floss with the key toothpaste ingredients infused in the floss. .

Flossers vs Regular Floss

Flossers, also known as floss picks, are disposable tools that hold a short piece of floss. They come with a handle, making them convenient and easy to use. Regular floss, on the other hand, requires manual manipulation.

Although floss is better in most situations (because a cleaner and unused part of floss is used in between teeth),, some individuals find flossers more comfortable to handle. It’s important to choose a method that you can use consistently and comfortably, as the key is to floss regularly, regardless of the tool you use.

Frequently Asked Questions on How Often Should You Floss

Here are some of the most common questions people ask us about flossing.

Is it ok to floss once a week?

While flossing once per week is better than not flossing at all, you want to make a habit of flossing more often. Ideally, it’s recommended that you floss once per day for ultimate dental health.

Is it better to floss in the morning or at night?

The timing of your flossing routine is not as crucial as the consistency of doing it daily. Whether you choose to floss in the morning or at night depends on personal preference. Some prefer to floss in the morning to start the day with a clean mouth, while others prefer to do it at night to remove any food particles before sleeping.

Is it best to floss before or after brushing?

It’s always best to floss before brushing since the dislodged food particles and remaining plaque can be removed when brushing your teeth.

Is it possible to floss too much?

It is possible to overdo it with flossing. If you supply too much force, you could damage your gums. Make sure you’re gentle and avoid snapping the floss into your gums. If you’re experiencing bleeding or pain while flossing, this could be a sign of a more serious issue and you should visit your dentist.

Final Thoughts

How often should you floss? What type of floss should you use? When should you floss? These are all common questions but don’t let the information prevent you from taking the right action towards your oral health.

Floss once per day, use the proper techniques, and you’ll have no problem. By doing this daily and developing the right habits, you’re taking a proactive approach to achieving a happy and healthy smile.

Learn more about oral health in Dr. Kami’s new book, If Your Mouth Could Talk!

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About the Author

About Dr. Kami Hoss

Dr. Kami Hoss is a nationally sought-after expert with a master’s in craniofacial biology from USC, a doctorate in dental surgery from UCLA, and a post-doctorate in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics. With over 25 years of experience in the dental field, Dr. Hoss is a #1 National Best Seller author frequently featured on NBC, ABC, FOX, NPR, and CBS affiliates, and founder of The Super Dentists, one of the leading multi-specialty dental practices in the country.

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