How are your flossing habits? Hopefully you didn’t just respond with, “What flossing habits?” Removing the plaque from between your teeth that your toothbrush inevitably leaves behind is a significant factor in maintaining a truly healthy, clean smile free of oral diseases like gingivitis and tooth decay. You may assume that as long as you’re running floss between your teeth each day, you’re doing enough. However, that’s simply not the case. When it comes to effective flossing habits, frequency and technique are equally important if your flossing is to make an impact on your preventive care.

Do You Use Enough Floss?

You might not think this is important. However, using a sufficient amount of floss has a lot to do with the quality of your flossing. Your goal is to remove plaque because it is full of bacteria. You should also remove food particles that may harbor bacteria. Flossing contributes to effective preventive care, which promotes cavity-free teeth and healthy gums. To prevent transference of bacteria throughout your mouth, use around 1½ feet of floss per session (one session per day).

Do Your Fingers Tingle or Become Numb?

Many patients find flossing uncomfortable simply because the floss tightens as they work, causing their fingers to feel tingly or numb. You can easily avoid this problem by first gently wrapping the ends of the floss around your middle fingers. Then, guide the floss throughout your smile with your index finger and your thumb to keep your middle fingers relaxed and comfortable.

Does Your Smile Feel Clean Enough?

If you don’t feel like your flossing is effective, you may need to improve this aspect of your preventive care by considering your approach. Patients often think they should be moving the floss up and down. This is true, but you need to cup the floss around each tooth while you drag the floss up and down to ensure you are actually removing plaque from your tooth surfaces and from beneath your gumline.


Dr. Jones and Dr. Harris of Mansfield Dental Associates rely upon their years of experience, training, and cutting-edge technology to offer patients expert dental care at each and every visit. They listen to each patient’s concerns and offer gentle, informative guidance about future treatments. If you would like to schedule a consultation, call 817-473-6227. Dr. Jones and Dr. Harris proudly treat patients from Mansfield, South Arlington, Kennedale, Southeast Ft. Worth, Alvarado, Midlothian and neighboring areas.