c. Holding the Floss. To clean between all the mandibular teeth, the floss is
held over the ends of the index fingers of both hands. To clean the maxillary right teeth,
the floss is passed over the thumb of the right hand and the index finger of the left hand.
The right thumb is to the outside of the teeth. To clean between the maxillary left teeth,
the floss is passed over the left thumb and the index finger of the right hand. Now the
left thumb is outside the teeth. See figure 4-2.
Figure 4-2. Methods for holding dental floss.
4-12. SUGGESTIONS FOR FLOSSING
Initial supervision and practice are required for effective flossing. The following
are suggestions when flossing.
a. Wrap the floss tightly around the proximal surface in order to disorganize and
b. Do not force the floss between the teeth. Use a seesaw motion where
contact areas are tight.
c. Move the floss up and down with both fingers four or five times on the
proximal surface of one tooth. Repeat the process on the proximal surface of the other
tooth until the surfaces are "squeaky clean."
d. Work the floss as far down as it will go into the gingival sulcus without
inducing pain in order to have thorough cleaning.
e. Floss the distal surface of the most posterior tooth on each side of each arch.
f. Use a new section of floss when the floss has been frayed or soiled.
g. Rinse the mouth vigorously with water after flossing to remove food particles
and plaque that has been loosened or disorganized.