Dental Hygienist Warns Against The 1 Flossing Mistake We All Make

"You could still have gum disease, even though you’re flossing" with this common error, apparently.
Eva-Katalin via Getty Images

I saw a tweet (well, post on X) in which someone advised, “only floss the teeth you want to keep”. I reached for the minty spool pretty swiftly after reading that.

But, after viewing a TikTok post from dental hygienist Anna Peterson, I’ve realised my efforts may have been in vain ― turns out, I’ve been flossing my teeth wrong for years.

“Do you know how deep you’re meant to go with floss?” Peterson began the video, quoting a question that had been asked of her in the comments of another TikTok video.

“The only way for me to properly answer is to show it to you,” the dental hygienist revealed.

Spoiler ― it’s further than you think

Tearing off a length of dental tape, Anna Peterson said, “when it comes to flossing, it’s really important that you do go to the right depth, or you won’t be doing it effectively, and you could still have gum disease, even though you’re flossing.”

She then revealed that “the floss needs to go to the gum level and then some more,” sharing a closeup that revealed a thin strip of dental floss sliding into the curve at the top of her tooth (I was surprised, too).

That’s possible, she says, because “the gum is not attached to the actual crown of the tooth, and the crown of the tooth is the bit that we can actually see.”

Instead, the gum attaches to the root of the tooth ― there’s no direct attachment between the front of your gnashers and your gums. I’m still reeling from that.

“This means that bacteria are in between that bit of gum and crown of the tooth that we can’t see,” the dental hygienist said. “And it’s why it’s so important that with the floss, we are going right up and under.”

She then shared that, if your gums are healthy, you can go about 1-3mm in depth. “Keep doing it, even if it’s bleeding,” she advises.

Well, that’s changed how I clean my teeth forever...