How to Use Dental Floss

Child smiling

We all know it’s important, but do you know how to use dental floss—that is, how to use it properly? Whether it’s a dreaded task that you only do the night before a dentist appointment, or a tried-and-true practice in your oral care routine, this article will help you become an expert flosser. So, let’s dive into How to Floss 101.  

How to Use Floss—Before or After Brushing?

As one of the most common questions surrounding dental floss, many people ask: do you floss before or after brushing? Turns out, it’s best to floss before brushing. This may come as a shock to those who’ve done a brushing-flossing routine since their childhood years, but the reverse order is actually far better for your mouth. 


This is because when you floss, you’re releasing any plaque, bacteria, and food that is trapped in between your teeth. If you were to brush, do this, and then go to bed directly afterwards, it would allow these problematic particles to remain in your mouth until your morning brush. 


Bring your planet- and travel-friendly single-use dental floss on your next trip and be sure to floss and then brush so that you can get rid of food and bacteria right away! Because these particles are immediately released and taken care of, it’ll reduce the amount of dental plaque in your mouth, therefore reducing your risk of developing gum disease

The Correct Way to Use Dental Floss

So now that we know when to floss, let’s get into the actual process. We’ll start with the fact that one-fifth of us are never flossing at all. So, if you’re one of the 40% of Americans flossing at least once a day, well done! 


That being said, however, improper flossing techniques may do more harm than good. It’s good to know the basics so that you don’t end up potentially damaging your gums and teeth. To help you out, here’s a step-by-step guide for how to floss teeth.

How to Use Floss: A Step-By-Step Guide

  • Tear off an adequate amount of dental floss. When it comes to how much dental floss to use, it’s generally recommended to break off about 18 to 24 inches of dental floss. You’ll want to wind it around your middle fingers, just leaving an inch unwound to use for your teeth. 
  • Hold the floss taut. Using your thumbs and index fingers, get the floss nice and taut so that it slides easier. 
  • Line the dental floss up in between teeth. The floss can then be glided up and down so that it rubs against both sides of each tooth
  • Avoid gliding the floss into the gums. Be cautious when you reach the gums as excessive force from flossing might scratch or bruise them. 
  • Form a C shape. Instead, when the floss reaches your gums, curve it to form a gentle C shape around the base of the gums. This way, the floss should gently enter the space between your gums and your tooth. 
  • Repeat from tooth to tooth. As you move on from tooth to tooth, unwind the floss so that a new, clean section is used each time. 
  • Floss once a day. While the American Dental Association recommends brushing twice a day, their recommendation for flossing is just once a day. While you can floss anytime of day, it's recommended that you only do so when you have adequate time. For most people, this means flossing at nighttime. 
  • How to Floss with Waxed Floss

    If you’re wondering how to use waxed dental floss, rest assured that the process is generally the same. However, you may notice that it feels slightly different. Because it’s thicker and coated, it may be uncomfortable if your teeth are very close together—but those properties may also make it easier for those who have braces. 

    How to Floss Teeth—Including the Hard-to-Reach Ones in the Back

    So what about those far back molars? How do you reach those? Well, to start, you may want to break off a longer piece of floss. Then, leave more of it unwound (2-3 inches) so that you have more floss to work with. 

    What’s the Purpose of Floss?

    When it comes to how to keep your teeth healthy, brushing and flossing are the dream team. Together, they help to remove food, bacteria, and plaque from the surfaces of your teeth, and the spaces between them. This minimizes your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. While brushing can help with that on its own, combining it with flossing can significantly reduce risk of gum disease and plaque—and the tooth decay it can lead to. 

    Activated Charcoal Dental Floss

    Flossing with Activated Charcoal 

    Now that you know how to floss, treat your mouth to a Bamboo Charcoal Dental Floss Bundle. Why? Thanks to the activated charcoal, the black floss makes it easy to see the food particles you remove while flossing. Plus, it’ll help to whiten in between your teeth. Made from bamboo and vegan candelilla wax, you’ll have a totally zero-waste, plastic-free flossing experience. Combine that with natural antibacterial properties and essential oils for a fresh breath and both you and our planet will have something to smile about. 

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