Dental Flossing Benefits

Why is Dental Flossing Important?

Dental flossing is a fundamental aspect of oral hygiene that goes beyond merely freshening breath and removing food particles stuck between teeth.

Here are several reasons why dental flossing is vital:

  1. Plaque Removal: While brushing is excellent for cleaning the surfaces of teeth, it often misses the tight spaces between them. Dental flossing helps remove plaque and debris from these areas, preventing the formation of tartar and reducing the risk of cavities and gum disease.
  2. Gum Health: Flossing isn't just about teeth; it's also crucial for maintaining healthy gums. Regular flossing helps eliminate plaque buildup along the gumline, reducing the likelihood of gum inflammation, gingivitis, and periodontal disease.
  3. Preventing Bad Breath: Food particles trapped between teeth can contribute to bad breath. Flossing helps remove these particles, keeping your breath fresh and your mouth feeling clean.
  4. Cavity Prevention: By removing plaque and food debris, dental flossing plays a significant role in preventing cavities. It reaches areas where toothbrush bristles can't, effectively reducing the risk of decay.

Incorporating Flossing into Your Routine

  1. Choose the Right Floss: Dental floss comes in various types, including waxed, unwaxed, flavored, and tape-style floss. Experiment to find the type that works best for you and encourages regular use.
  2. Floss Correctly: Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and index fingers and gently slide it between your teeth using a back-and-forth motion. Be careful not to snap the floss into your gums, as this can cause irritation.
  3. Floss Once a Day: Aim to floss at least once a day, preferably before bedtime. This helps remove plaque and food particles accumulated throughout the day, ensuring a clean mouth overnight.
  4. Be Gentle: Avoid aggressive flossing, as it can damage delicate gum tissue. Instead, use a gentle yet thorough technique to clean between teeth effectively.
  5. Make It Convenient: Keep dental floss easily accessible in your bathroom or carry portable floss picks for on-the-go oral care. Having floss readily available makes it more likely that you'll use it regularly.

While regular flossing is essential for maintaining oral health, it's also crucial to visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and check-ups. Dentists can assess your oral health, provide personalised recommendations, and address any concerns you may have about your dental hygiene routine.


Flossing correctly is essential to ensure effective plaque removal and gum health.

  1. Begin by taking about 30 cm of dental floss and winding most of it around your middle fingers, leaving about 3-5 cm of floss to work with
  2. Gently guide the floss between your teeth using a zigzag motion, taking care not to snap it against your gums, which could cause irritation
  3. Curve the floss around each tooth in a C-shape and slide it up and down along the sides of the tooth, reaching below the gumline
  4. Repeat this process for each tooth, using a clean section of floss each time to prevent transferring bacteria.

Remember to be thorough but gentle to avoid damaging delicate gum tissue and enamel.

You should only use a piece of floss once before throwing it away, as it can hold bacteria (and you don’t want to put that back into your mouth!)

If you're unsure about your flossing technique, don't hesitate to ask your dentist or dental hygienist for guidance during your next appointment.

Mastering the correct flossing technique is key to maximizing its benefits for your oral health.

Alternatives to traditional dental floss

In recent years, developments in technology have meant we now have a range of methods to floss our teeth, providing greater accessibility and convenience. Some alternative methods of flossing you might like to explore outside of typical dental floss or tape include:

  • Water flossers  - These machines use water pressure to irrigate your teeth and push out any debris.
  • Air flossers  - Similar to water flossers, these machines use air pressure to push out any debris.
  • Floss picks  - A convenient on-the-go way to floss teeth. This small single-use stick features a Y shape with floss on one end and usually a toothpick shape on the other end.
  • Super floss a special kind of dental floss that works well for those with braces, retainers, or bridges. Super floss comes pre-cut and contains spongy floss on one end and regular floss on the other.

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