Why and How Should I Floss?

Why and How Should I Floss?

Even with the most diligent brushing, you can only clean up to 60% of all your teeth surfaces with brushing alone. The remaining 40% are the narrow spaces in between your teeth and underneath your gums where no well-designed toothbrush can reach to remove plaque build-up.

Without flossing, you are at risk of developing decay and gum inflammation in between your teeth, since plaque is left behind to thrive in these areas.

Decay forming in between the teeth, as shown on this X-Ray.



  • Wrap about 30cm of floss around your middle or index fingers.
  • Grip the floss between the thumb and index finger of each hand, leaving about 3 to 5 cm in between.
  • Gently direct the floss between each tooth. Move it slowly down past the contact point using a sawing motion.
  • Once near the gums, wrap the floss around one side of the tooth and gently slide it up and down the space between the tooth and gums. Don’t use a sawing motion when you are near the gums. Repeat on the other side of the gums on the adjacent tooth.
  • It is recommended that you start at the midline and work your way to the back teeth on each side.

Our recommended floss – Oral-B Essential floss which is thin yet tough and waxed for easier use.

The floss should wrap around the tooth in a “C” shape before sliding it down beneath the gums.


You can also use floss holders or floss picks should you find it a challenge with the floss thread – the plastic component helps to hold the floss taut which makes it easier to floss difficult areas.

Floss Picks

Floss picks are useful for those who find flossing challenging.

The same principle of flossing applies – the floss must form a C-shape around the tooth before sliding it underneath the gums.

Another alternative to flossing is to use interdental brushes, especially if you have large pre-existing gaps in between your teeth. These brushes come in various sizes, so it is best to pick the right size to avoid traumatizing your gums and widening the gaps further!

interdental brushes

Interdental brush being used to clean in between the teeth.

If you have not flossed for a long time and decided to start recently, but find that flossing is very difficult, chances are that there has been calculus build-up which would impede flossing. A round of Scaling & Polishing would help to remove these obstructions, and starting a regular flossing routine right after Scaling & Polishing is best. Calculus will form again within a few days if flossing is not done routinely, so remember not to skip the floss!

Presence of calculus will impede flossing. Only scaling can remove the calculus before you can floss through.

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