Dentist Questions Flossing

How can flossing help in maintaining the health of teeth and gums?

I have been reading a lot of dental floss and how they can help in maintaining the health of teeth and gums. Is it true that regular flossing is essential for dental hygiene? How often should I practice flossing and is there anything to keep in mind as precautions when flossing.

17 Answers

It controls plaque, food traps and cleanses bacteria from in between your teeth and under the gums.
Flossing cleans in between the teeth where food debris hides. Use the floss in such a way that you clean the plaque off the sides of the teeth going gently below the gum tissue. Do not be aggressive with flossing. Your gums may bleed, but it should not hurt. Daily flossing breaks up the bacteria that gets caught in between your teeth and keeps your mouth healthy.

Flossing is ideal for proper oral hygiene maintenance. Floss is able to clean plaque and debris from between the teeth. Remember that you are flossing your teeth and not your gums, so keep the floss against the tooth, this will gently massage the gums as you floss below the gum line.

Hope this helps.
Flossing is very important because it cleans the part of the teeth that brushing doesn’t reach - between the teeth. Flossing should be done once daily to avoid gums from becoming inflamed and sensitive.

Lara Bacchelli
When you ONLY brush your teeth without flossing, you are only removing debris on the smooth surfaces of the teeth (cheek side, tongue side, and biting surfaces). The bristles of your tooth brush alone cannot get between the teeth. Flossing is a means of manipulating out debris BETWEEN the teeth that is missed when you brush only. It is recommended that you floss daily - my recommendation is to do it right before bed when you can remove the debris from your entire day before you go to sleep when the bacteria levels tend to be higher. There is, in fact, a technique to flossing. Please check out our website or facebook page for videos.
Regular flossing is imperative for maintaining the health of teeth and gums because it breaks up plaque (bacteria) between the teeth where toothbrush bristles cannot reach. Everyone should floss their teeth, gently, every night before bed.
Regular flossing contributes to maintaining healthy teeth and gums by removing the bacteria and food debris that accumulates between your teeth.
Regular flossing, at least once daily, is recommended because of the short time it takes for the bacteria to "set up shop" on your teeth.
Gently slip the floss through the contacts and, making a tight "C" with the floss against the tooth, glide the floss up and down the tooth surface. Remember between every 2 teeth, there are 2 surfaces to clean. Do NOT snap the floss in as this may traumatize the gums.
Generally, it is recommended to use lightly waxed floss.
If all of my patients flossed everyday, I would go broke. I never miss a day of flossing. It is the easiest way to maintain healthy teeth and gums. It is arguably more important than brushing. In general, you want to work the floss past the contact between your teeth and then gently go up and down below the gum line pulling the floss against each tooth. You do not want to floss back-and-forth as this may cut your gums. Getting into a regular habit of flossing will save you a lot of money at your dental office.
Yes, you've read the correct information on flossing, because brushing only reaches part of the bacterial film on the teeth known as plaque - flossing reaches the other parts that would go untouched by brushing alone. You need to have regular appts at the dentist for having a professional cleaning done, in order to remove the buildup that ISN'T removable with floss, usually every few months (3-6 typically, depending on the patient). Then, your flossing will be more effective because the surfaces aren't covered with the hardened form of plaque, or calculus, which people call tartar.
Great question and there have been many discussions around flossing in the media lately. Flossing is wonderful for the health of teeth and gums to cut back the biofilm between teeth. For flossing to be effective, it should be introduced slightly under the gum tissue and hug the tooth, rubbing the floss vertically along the long axis of the tooth. With that said, there are other tools that can be used to be effective towards the same result. Interproximal brushes, end tuft brushes, picks and waterpicks can be very effective cleaning the same areas that floss does. What works the best is the tool you will use on a daily basis.
Floss can be harmful if used too forcefully, cutting the gum tissue and causing recession in the long run.

So floss carefully!
Hope this helps,

Jossi Stokes, DDS
Yes flossing is very important and it should be done atleast once a day and should be done before brushing at night and in between the teeth floss is the only thing which can clean adequately thanks
Great to hear that you're interested in flossing and what it can do for you. Flossing is by far the best way you can prevent future dental problems including gum disease and decay between your teeth (the most common place for it). When you floss between your teeth, you are disrupting a biofilm of bacteria responsible for gingivitis and tooth decay. You should try to work your way up to flossing once per day, if you're not already there. A good dental hygienist will work with you on your specific flossing technique and what type of floss would be best for your particular situation.

Thank you for your question!
100%. The floss removes food and bacteria from in between the teeth. This allows the gums to be clean and healthy
Yes it is important to floss daily, twice a day. The toothbrush can't get in between your teeth or stimulate the gums between your teeth. The floss does. So when you don't floss that part of your tooth and gums is left dirty with everything you ate for the day. This leads to cavities between your teeth and gum disease which leads to bone loss and eventually tooth loss.

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Rev. Dr. Laurentis Barnett Divine Expressions Family Dentistry
Sometimes I think a visual aid helps when learning how to floss unless you're in the dental chair and the dentist or hygienist can show you directly. You want to keep floss parallel to the long axis of the tooth and it's root so an up-and-down motion keeping the floss tight against the two being careful not to saw back and forth but rather an up-and-down motion and not too aggressive so as to damage the delicate gum tissue when you first begin using floss. Your gums will tough and gradually over time your gingival will return to a nice pink consistency which is a precursor of Health rather than red and swollen.
Yes, it helps. Twice a day is current recommendation. Brushing alone is not enough to get the plaque in between teeth, flossing will help with that.
24 hours or once daily prevents calculus formation, but anytime you have food stuck in between the teeth is a good time to floss.