Dental flossing techniques and types. Does it cause gaps in your teeth?


What is flossing?

Dental flossing is a part of oral cleaning designed to maintain your overall health. It is a wax coated cord of thin filaments used for interdental cleaning and removal of dental plaques formed between the surface of your teeth or places where a  toothbrush cannot reach.


Why is flossing important? 

Flossing is counted as one of the vital oral hygiene habits. It helps clean and dislodge food stuck in between your teeth, thereby decreasing the number of bacteria and plaque in your mouth. Plaque is a sticky film that develops on teeth and contributes to gum diseases and cavities.

Even though many people regularly brush their teeth, not all floss their teeth. It is not enough if you floss instead, it's vital to floss in the right way. When you do not floss properly, it can cause damage to your teeth and gums. If you are unsure how to floss correctly, look at the proper technique to floss your teeth regularly.

Also Read :- What are the four different types of teeth and their function?

Dental flossing technique

You might have heard that dental flossing is good for maintaining dental hygiene, but you might be wondering why it is? With proper flossing techniques, you can easily remove plaques and food particles from places that your toothbrush can't reach, such as under the gum line or between teeth. As plaque buildup can result in the decaying of teeth and other gum diseases, regular dental flossing is highly needed.

If you want to get maximum benefits from dental flossing, then follow the proper flossing technique:

  • Start by using a 12-inch floss. Wind maximum floss around your middle finger leaving behind an inch or two for your floss to work with.
  • When you hold the floss tightly between your fingers and your index fingers, you can slide it a little up and down between your teeth.
  • Slightly curve your floss around your tooth base while making sure you go beyond the gum line. Do not snap or force the floss, which can lead to cuts or bruises in your delicate gum tissues.
  • Utilize clean sections of dental floss when you move from one tooth to another tooth.
  • To remove the floss, make use of the same back and forth motion to bring the floss up and away from your teeth.

Also Read :- Why infant oral health care is important?

Different types of dental flossing

Dental floss is available in several varieties. The type of floss good for you depends on your choices, the space present between your teeth, and whether you are using bridges and braces or not.

Some dental floss is easy to use in vast spaces, while other kinds of floss are accessible for use in tight spaces.

  • Dental tape: This dental floss is broad and flat like a ribbon, making it easy to handle when you have a brace, gaps, and big spaces between your teeth.
  • Standard floss: This is a thin strand of nylon that easily fits in between your teeth. It is available as flavored or unflavored and also waxed or unwaxed. When your teeth are located very close to each other, dental floss with wax coating helps make it easy to get in between them.
  • Super floss: This is a dental floss thread that works well with braces, caps, and bridges. It consists of three main components, a stiff end that helps you floss under the appliances, spongy floss for cleaning around the appliances, and regular floss for eliminating the plaque present under the gum line.
  • Water Floss : Water jet is used with minimal pressure to clean and dislodge the food particles which are stuck and as well as remove the plaque.

Some other tools also assist in making flossing easy and fast, such as water flossers and electric flossers. This uses water and pressure to remove the plaque and foods between your teeth. They are a great option when you face trouble using regular floss. A water floss is also good when you have a brace. This device helps in cleaning wires and brackets. Another great option is using single-use floss picks. They are easy to move and can assist you in flossing teeth that are very hard to reach in the back of your mouth.

Also Read :- 5 best practices that you should follow for healthy teeth and gums

Now, does flossing lead to gaps between your teeth?

Flossing is often overlooked, sometimes because of convenience and sometimes because of the misinformation despite the recommendation to do regular flossing. Many people think flossing causes gaps between teeth and therefore try skipping it. Yes, you might get gaps between your teeth while flossing, but those gaps do not occur because of the flossing but due to some flossing mistakes and incorrect flossing.

Some of the common mistakes in flossing that can leads to teeth gaps are

  • Cutting your gums: The floss snaps down when you force flossing between your teeth, thereby cutting the gums. It is painful, but it recedes your gum with time and creates gaps between your teeth.
  • When you stop flossing your teeth when your gums start bleeding: Gums start bleeding when plaques present in your teeth irritate and inflame your gums. When gums start bleeding while you floss, it is a sign that you have built up a plaque that requires removal or some other gum disease.

So, if you find gaps between your teeth, you need to floss your teeth adequately other than brushing your teeth regularly and going for regular dental checkups.


Flossing is regularly required for your oral health. Flossing plaques with buildup can result in tooth decay, gum diseases, and gaps between your teeth. It decreases the chances of tooth decay and gum diseases. Connect with the top dentists at MyDentalPlan- India’s Largest Dental Network, to know about the condition of your teeth and which kind of floss is beneficial for you.




About the Author:

Suprithi Choudhary, M.Pharm (Pharmacology) Medical Content writer

Suprithi is a Pharma Professional working as a medical content writer and previously worked as a Research Scientist and Senior Research Analyst


  • C.M Academy
  • Attended the Panjab University- Chandigarh, Pharma post-graduate in Pharmacology

Special thanks to Dr Deepak Kulkarni, a dental surgeon with over 23 years of experience who proofread this blog. He graduated from the H.K.E's Dental College, Gulbarga, and has certifications in ACHS International Accreditation Education Plan; Advanced Rotary Endodontic - Restorative Continuum; and Leadership, Team Building and Customer Service Leadership from the Oscar Murphy International.



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