Is flossing really as important as dentists say?

In most people’s oral hygiene routine, flossing isn’t a common task for many. Despite all dentists and dental hygienists advising their patients to floss everyday, many still don’t do it.

Without flossing, a person can miss cleaning around 35% of their tooth surface. Some people also don’t have big enough spaces in between their teeth for the bristles of their toothbrush to get in between, meaning less of the tooth surface is cleaned. Flossing also helps to maintain healthy gums, reducing risk for periodontal diseases. Reducing the risk for periodontal disease means patients are more likely to keep their adult teeth and require less work to maintain their oral hygiene. A common early sign of gum disease is bleeding of the gums during brushing and/or flossing. However, flossing everyday can quickly resolve this bleeding, showing signs of healthier gums.

Some tips for effective flossing are listed below:

  1. Grip the floss rightly, so there is no slack, between your forefingers and thumbs, allowing for around an inch of floss to be used.
  2. When flossing, use a gentle rocking motion to manoeuvre the floss between your teeth. Effective flossing doesn’t have to be aggressive.
  3. Ensure to floss the back surface of your last tooth, despite it not having a tooth next to it.
  4. Work in a strategic way throughout the mouth to avoid missing any teeth. E.g. Start at the right of the top of your mouth and work your way around to the left.