Top 6 Flossing Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

Most people know the importance of flossing their teeth regularly.  It can help prevent gum disease, bad breath, and tooth decay.  But there are some flossing mistakes which people commonly make and don’t realize they are doing.  Some of the most common mistakes with flossing people make are as follows:

You Don’t Floss Every Day

If you only floss after eating corn on the cob, then this is not often enough.  Flossing needs to be done every day, not just when you get food stuck between your teeth.  The aim of flossing is not just to remove food particles, but also to remove plaque that accumulates between your teeth.  Plaque builds up quickly and needs to be removed daily with floss.  If the plaque is left for too long it becomes tartar, which is a hard substance that can only be removed by a dentist or hygienist.

You Don’t Floss The Teeth On Both Sides Of The Gap

Many people make the mistake of just flossing the gap between their teeth.  Just pushing the floss between your teeth and out again will not clean the plaque off the teeth properly.  To floss effectively you need to clean the teeth on both sides of the gap.

You Don’t Floss Behind Your Back Teeth

This is a commonplace that people don’t realize needs flossing.  Plaque can build up behind your back teeth which are very difficult to clean with a toothbrush.  To remove the plaque, this area needs to be cleaned with floss.

You Cut Your Gums When Flossing

To get the floss between your teeth, many people snap the floss down and cut their gums.  This can hurt and it can also cause your gums to recede if you do this regularly.  Instead, gently move the floss back and forth to slide it between your teeth.  It also helps to have the right tools for the job.  Some brands of floss are thicker than others which can make it difficult to use, especially if your teeth are very close together.  Waxed dental floss or tape is also easier to gently slide between your teeth.

Not Flossing Under Your Gums

It’s important to gently clean under your gums with the floss.  There is naturally a gap slightly below the gumline which can accumulate plaque.  When flossing, gently push the floss below your gums to clean the area.  This shouldn’t hurt or cut your gums.

You Stop Flossing When Your Gums Bleed

Bleeding gums when you brush or floss are a sign that you have gum disease.  Plaque that is left on your teeth irritates your gums which causes them to become inflamed and bleed.  If your gums bleed when you floss, it is a sign that plaque has been left on your teeth and needs to be removed.  Continue to floss even if it causes your gums to bleed and over time the bleeding will lessen and eventually stop.


Flossing and brushing your teeth every day with the correct technique will keep your teeth and gums healthy.  By avoiding some of these common flossing mistakes, you will keep your mouth as clean and healthy as possible.  It is well worth spending the time looking after your teeth every day to keep them for the rest of your life.