2901 Wilshire Boulevard Suite 301, Santa Monica, CA 90403

Your Santa Monica Family Dentists

Schedule an Appointment

Contact Us At

How to Floss Properly

When patients come in to our Santa Monica dentistry, we always teach them the three steps of good oral health: brush, floss and use mouthwash. However, when our patients still came in with food deposits and plaque on their teeth, yet they swore that they followed the three steps twice a day, we realized that some people don’t know the correct way to floss. In addition to brushing your teeth for two minutes with a soft-bristled toothbrush, there is a method as to how to floss properly. We’ve shared it with our patients, and now we’ll share it with you, our readers.

Why Flossing is Important

Although most people know that they need to floss their teeth, what is the real reason that knowing how to floss is so important? Even if you religiously brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day, a toothbrush can miss some places in your mouth. For example, it’s almost impossible to reach the space between your teeth or under your gums with a brush, only dental floss can do the trick.

If you don’t floss in the hard-to-reach places, you have a greater chance of plaque accumulating on your teeth and gums, and causing oral health problems, such as tooth decay and gum disease.

dental floss in Santa Monica
Dental Floss

Types of Dental Floss

In a previous article about the history of dental floss, we explained what floss is: “Dental floss consists of a string-like material made from plastic or silk in a container. The string is inserted in between teeth to remove food and dental plaque for optimal teeth cleaning. Dental floss can be waxed or unwaxed, and flavored or unflavored. It is found in most drugstores and food retailers around the country.”

Floss can be either nylon or single filament (PTFE). Colgate explains that: “Nylon floss is available waxed and unwaxed, and in a variety of flavors. Because this type of floss is composed of many strands of nylon, it may sometimes tear or shred, especially between teeth with tight contact points. While more expensive, single filament (PTFE) floss slides easily between teeth, even those with tight spaces between teeth, and is virtually shred-resistant.”

How to Floss Properly

Colgate provides these steps on how to floss properly:

  • “Starting with about 18 inches of floss, wind most of the floss around each middle finger, leaving an inch or two of floss to work with
  • Holding the floss tautly between your thumbs and index fingers, slide it gently up-and-down between your teeth
  • Gently curve the floss around the base of each tooth, making sure you go beneath the gumline. Never snap or force the floss, as this may cut or bruise delicate gum tissue
  • Use clean sections of floss as you move from tooth to tooth
  • To remove the floss, use the same back-and-forth motion to bring the floss up and away from the teeth”

For more information about learning how to floss, contact your local Santa Monica dentistry, Hale & Hale, DDS.

Dr. Susan Hale, DDS

Doctor Susan Hale is a Southern California Native. She attended UCLA followed by Northwestern Dental School in Chicago where she met Dr. Brent. Susan follows the quote of GV Black (the founder of modern dentistry and the first dean of her dental school,” The Professional has no right to be other than a continuous student.” She graduated from UCLA’s TMJ and Facial Pain Mini-Residency and Esthetic Professional’s Mini-Residency. She has a passion for her patients and giving them a beautiful healthy smile, In addition to loving her time with her family and friends, Dr. Susan enjoys running, yoga, cooking and now a little golf.

Dr. Brent Hale, DDS

Brent was born in Michigan and decided early on in life that dentistry suited his personal qualities, and would allow him to focus his career on things he truly enjoyed. He met Susan while they were both in dental school at Northwestern University. After graduating in 1985, the couple returned to Susan’s native Santa Monica to set up their dental partnership. They opened their first office in 1987.

Keep In Touch