Being dedicated to flossing is the best way to keep your teeth and gums healthy, but just doing it isn't always enough. If you don't use floss the way it's meant to be used, you might be missing plaque and bacteria that could come back to haunt you later. Read on to learn if you're making any of these three common mistakes well-intentioned flossers make.

Not Flossing Edges

When you floss, you shouldn't just pull the floss between your teeth and out again. The floss needs to actually touch the sides of your teeth.

Ideally, you should pull the floss up between the teeth, reach the top, and then gently pull it down taut against one side of your teeth. Repeat the process on the other side, making sure to go from up to down so that any bacteria and plaque is pulled out instead of being pushed back up towards your gums. If you only pull the floss between your teeth, the plaque that's stuck to your teeth will likely remain.

Not Touching Gums

Like your teeth, floss needs to actually touch your gums. Touching the gums means you can remove biofilm, bacteria, and plaque from the surface of your gum line as well as underneath the gum line. This is essential to ending or preventing gum disease.

To do this step, when you pull the floss in, pull it all the way until it's touching your gums. Then, hold the floss taut and scrape across the gum line, leading towards the edge of a tooth. Follow the steps above to thoroughly clean your tooth, then repeat on the other side, including the part of the gums that you missed.

Reusing Floss

Finally, you should remember to never reuse floss. This doesn't just mean using floss that's been used on a previous day, but don't reuse the same portion of your floss. Doing so will just distribute the bacteria and plaque you pulled out from another pair of teeth. This is especially a problem if you're using a flossing tool that only has one piece of floss strung across it.

Always try to use a new, dry piece of floss to floss your teeth. If you absolutely can't help but use the same piece of floss due to a lack of available floss, run it under the sink and rinse the floss to help flush away some of the debris stuck to it.

Flossing is something few people can swear to doing on a daily basis, but it's even rarer to find someone who does it right. With these three steps you can up your flossing game and ensure that your next visit to the dentist is a happy and healthy one.