Fast facts on flossing

Have you been brushing like a champion and wondering if flossing is really worth the effort?

Here are some of the benefits of flossing that will hopefully get you across the line to ‘Yes! It is a great idea to floss.’

Benefits of flossing:

  1. It removes food caught between teeth that can otherwise decay and lead to bad breath;
  2. It removes plaque from teeth, which if left untouched can harden to calculus;
  3. It removes plaque from the vulnerable part of the gums where they meet the base of the teeth. Removing this plaque reduces the likelihood of gum disease;
  4. It provides an opportunity to regularly inspect your teeth and gums and maintain good oral hygiene.

Tips for flossing:

  • Use floss of approximately 30-45cm in length. Wind it around your first or second finger on each hand and apply pressure with both thumbs to gently work a 3cm section of floss between two teeth until floss touches the gum.
  • Be gentle. Too much pressure or aggressive over-flossing can cause pain and damage gums.
  • Move floss back and forth in the gap, working around the base of each tooth to gently remove plaque build-up and food.
  • Use a new section of floss between each tooth.
  • Aim to floss often; ideally, each time you brush your teeth. This will help you maintain good dental health, removing food caught between teeth, in those hard-to-reach places that brushes often brush over.

Tools of the flossing trade:

Several options exist on the flossing front:

  • String floss – most commonly used and very effective, but can be tricky for young children and those with limited manual dexterity.
  • Flossettes – individual floss sticks, often with a pick at one end. Easy introduction to flossing for young children.
  • Interdental brushes (e.g. Piksters) – if rinsed well after use these can be used several times before being discarded. Often recommended for use with braces.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about flossing or your general dental health, please contact one of our dental health professionals for advice.

Want to know how to be the best at brushing your teeth? Read our news article here