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Dental Floss

This series of videos goes through the 3 must-have tools to do the best job of cleaning your teeth!

Tool 2: Dental Floss

Part 2 Video 1: Why should you use dental floss

Part 2 Video 2: How to floss! Dentist uses dental floss

Dental Floss: How to Floss

It is often said that given the choice between a toothbrush and dental floss.. you are better to have dental floss! Floss/dental floss and how to floss are all discussed in the page below. Dr Carla in the below videos, discusses all things to do with dental floss. If you have never been shown how to floss, or your dentist has told you that you need to use dental floss and you don't know how to floss or why you should floss, then the below videos are for you. We also have video transcripts and discussions on how to floss below.

Descriptions and Transcripts

How to floss - how to floss teeth with dental floss

Tools for Teeth Cleaning Series Video 2 Part 1 - Dental Floss

How to Floss with Dental Floss

Tools for Teeth Cleaning Series by Doctor Carla - Dental Floss

Part 2 Tooth Floss - how to floss - how to use dental floss


Hi guys, Welcome to part 2 of the how to keep your teeth clean series. This one is floss/dental floss and how to floss.



Welcome to our video on dental floss... So if you haven't checked out the first series, go and check it out, its about the toothbrush.


So you might be thinking, what's the big deal.. why do I need to bother flossing? I brush my teeth, everything is fine but I'm still getting hounded by the dentist to floss. So, the reason, and the same with brushing, why we want to floss our teeth with dental floss is to remove that plaque. Plaque is very sneaky.. it gets in absolutely everywhere. It doesn't just get on the fronts and the biting surfaces of the teeth, it gets between the teeth and actually under the gums as well.


Unfortunately, the toothbrush bristles, can not get into that little tiny narrow space between your teeth, and it definitely can't get into the gum space between your teeth either. So that is where dental floss comes in. Dental floss is very thin, and that's why it can use dental floss to get between your teeth and dental floss can also get under the gum.


Now what does plaque do? Why is it so bad? Why do we try and get rid of it? The first thing that plaque can do is that it can give you cavities. Flossing between your teeth with dental floss helps you prevent getting cavities between your teeth. So if you are someone who's had fillings that have gone between your teeth, then flossing and using dental floss can actually help those fillings that you have last longer and it can help protect your teeth from getting new cavities. So that's one thing that the plaque does.


The other main thing that plaque does between your teeth is cause gum disease or bleeding gums. The same as before with respect to only brushing between your teeth or if you are brushing and the bristles can't get between the teeth unfortunately. What you can have is some inflammation or swelling between the gums. That may present as bleeding. If you do try and floss and use dental floss and you go 'oh my god, gosh there is blood everywhere', that is because the gums are a bit inflamed. Dental floss can get in and clean this plaque before it has time to start cavities and inflammation of the gums.


The other thing about plaque, is that... plaque is soft. When it is in it's soft state you can clean it off easily using dental floss. Once the plaque has been there for some time on your teeth.. it actually mineralises and turns into something called tartar or you may know it as scale or calculus.


Once it forms that hard tartar, scale or calculus...thats the end of being able to use dental floss as you can't clean it off at home anymore with your brush or your floss/dental floss. The idea is that you want to clean as much plaque off as you can with dental tools like dental floss before it turns into that hard tartar.


What's so bad about tartar?


The tartar is very irritating to your gums and it can make them quite inflamed. If you get gum disease, this tartar is one of the main culprits of the gum disease not improving. Dental floss is a very effective tool to combat and prevent gum disease. The next video on dental floss will show you actually how to use dental floss.

How to floss using dental floss- how to floss teeth

Tools for Teeth Cleaning Series Video 2 Part 2 - How to Floss

How to Floss

Tools for Teeth Cleaning Series by Doctor Carla - Dental Floss

Part 2 Floss Part 2 How to Floss using dental floss


How to floss using dental floss? 

The first tip on how to floss, you want to get a sufficiently long piece of dental floss, probably about 30cm of floss is enough. 

So once you have your approximately 30cm long piece of dental floss, some advice on how to floss in terms of holding the floss is that you want to secure the floss around your 2 pointer fingers. So everybody is going to find the best way for them to hold dental floss. The way that I find is the easiest to hold dental floss is just to wrap the floss around one finger a couple of times, and hold the dental floss in the other finger... like this (Dr Carla demonstrates the position with her fingers as described). I'm holding the rest of the dental floss string with my other fingers. The reason you want the dental floss on the tips of your pointer fingers, is because this gives you the most control over the dental floss. If you were to hold the floss like this (Dr Carla holds the piece of dental floss much further apart than was described), it's very hard to put the floss exactly where it needs to go and it's almost impossible to get the floss right to the back.

So one tip regarding how to floss is that the shorter the distance between the 2 pointed fingers, the more control you have over the dental floss.. and if you've just got the floss on the tips of the fingers, you can get the floss right to the back of your mouth. 

Secondly, a tip for how to floss is through the action that you want to do with the dental floss is very deliberate. How to floss should be one tooth at a time with the following action. When you floss you do one tooth and you go up and down, up and down. You are really curving the dental floss around the tooth. (Text displayed on screen: up and down 2-3 times, push the floss against one tooth and pull the floss against the other tooth). Up and down, up and down and push the floss against that tooth, and then you come across and go onto the tooth on the other side. In terms of how to floss, if you are pushing the dental floss on one tooth then you are pulling the floss on the other tooth... and you go up and down up and down with the dental floss. You only need to go up and down with the dental floss a couple of times.

How to floss - going forwards and backwards with the floss doesn't really do much toward cleaning the plaque off. 

How to floss using a demonstration with dental floss:

This is the surface between my 2 front teeth (Dr Carla puts her hands together but exposing a little gap between them to represent the gaps between 2 teeth). This is the side that we want to clean (Dr Carla shows her hands again together with a gap. She shows that the part which  needs to be cleaned is the total surface of the tooth, ie the total surface area between the two teeth). Going up and down with the dental floss is going to be good... if we go backwards and forwards with the dental floss, see we are not really cleaning much of the surface at all, so we want to go up and down with the dental floss (Dr Carla displays how to floss with one of the 2 hands representing the tooth, and a finger of the other hand representing the floss. We can see how to floss in the first instance where the finger/floss going up and down on the hand, representing an up and down motion. Here it can be seen that the whole hand/tooth is getting covered. Next the back and forth technique with the dental floss is displayed. Here the finger/floss goes back and forward on the hand/tooth. It can be seen that only a fraction of the hand/tooth is covered. This demonstrates that the up and down technique with the dental floss is superior). We also really want to push the floss against the tooth. 

So I'm holding the floss between my 2 fingers... between my front teeth I'm pushing up with the floss against this tooth on my left. Pushing up down up down with the floss. (Dr Carla demonstrates correct flossing). As you can see, I'm going right up to the gum with the floss. Now I'm doing the other tooth (right side).. so I'm pulling against the other teeth with the floss, up down up down. So that action you can do for all of your teeth. 

Pushing up down up down with the floss...  pulling up down up down.

As we were talking about in part 1, the teeth have this real curve, so if we are really doing a solid push, the floss is actually covering the curve on the front and the inside of the tooth. So the idea is that if your toothbrushes misses a bit, then the dental floss can get to it. 

I'm going to floss all my teeth, it's not something that needs to take a long time... so you can see how to floss can be quick. 

(Dr Carla demonstrates how to floss by flossing her whole mouth as described)

So thats all my teeth flossed (time taken: 45 seconds)

Now if you are someone who is just new to flossing, the best way to use your dental floss is in front of a mirror.. so you can see exactly what you're doing with the floss. Learning how to floss is definitely a skill that you will improve with time, and it's important that you give yourself some time to learn how to floss. If you're in a rush or if you're feeling frustrated, just give it a rest and you can come back to how to floss another day. Leave your dental floss with your toothbrush so that you see it and you're reminded to floss. Some people like to chill out in the shower and floss while in the shower, there's no rules about where and when you can floss. Some of my patients like to floss when they are watching TV, you do it whenever suits you and is ok with your family. 

Certainly if you have tried flossing and it's just not for you because you can't get your fingers in there or you just can't get the movements down, then that's totally fine, you can try something like this, this is called a flossette. What is flossette you ask? Well here you can see that the flossette is a little item that has floss which is held in by a little fork. I will show you how to floss using the flossette. It's very similar in action. What you do is push the flossette up between the teeth. Generally the floss in the flossette is a little bit thicker than string floss.. so if you can't push it up between the teeth you can you can gently press on the little bow of the flossette (Text displayed: gently bite on the bow of the flossette to move the floss up toward gum, push, pull and twist against the tooth). Then same thing, I'm going to push the floss against my tooth on the left, and go up and down a couple of times and then I'm going to pull the floss on my other tooth and go up and down a few times as well... and that's it, as easy as that. It's exactly the same with the flossette for the back teeth.. pushing up and down with the flossette, then pulling up and down. Then the side ones. You can also really do an exaggerated twist so you can right into those front curves and curves on the inside.. just like that.

That is it for how to floss using dental floss/floss and how to use the flossette. If you have enjoyed the how to floss videos, please feel free to show this to others. How to floss is a very important part of keeping your teeth and gums clean. If you feel you need further info, just ask your Dentista dentist today on some more pointers with the dental floss and how to floss, how to use a flossette..

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