Flossing 101

Does Flossing Really Work?

To floss or not to floss? That is the question. Despite the reports that suggest that there is no medical benefit to flossing, many health experts including the American Dental Association are still contending the need to clean in between your teeth. Just because there is no strong evidence to support the benefits to flossing, it doesn’t mean that this oral habit is ineffective. In fact, when you floss properly and regularly, you can immediately confirm its effectiveness, especially when you see all the little food particles lifted from in between your teeth.

Some compelling reasons to continue flossing include:

  • Removes plaque that causes cavities and tartar
  • Prevents gum disease from developing
  • Lowers risk of bad breath or halitosis
  • Reduces risk of developing chronic conditions such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes

The Right Way to Floss

The key to an effective flossing is doing it the right way. While the question of when to floss also poses heated debates but as long as you do it thoroughly once a day, it doesn’t matter when. Just set a time of day when you can devote more time to your dental care. You can do it either before or after brushing your teeth, although many health experts suggest flossing before brushing so you won’t be able to forget.

Here are some techniques for proper flossing:

  • Use about 18 inches of floss
  • Wrap one end on your middle and wound the rest on your other middle finger leaving only an inch or two
  • Hold both ends of floss using your thumbs and index fingers
  • Gently slide the floss up and down between your teeth
  • Gently form a C-shape around the base of each tooth, making sure you reach the gum line
  • Move to the cleaner sections of the floss as you go from one tooth to another

If you experience bleeding in your gums while flossing, it may mean that you are pushing the floss hard in between your teeth. Just remember that flossing should not be painful, although many first-timers may feel a slight discomfort that usually goes away in a week or two.

Flossing is a low-risk and low-cost procedure that can contribute greatly to your oral health. Set up a daily reminder or maybe track your progress to help you develop the habit. When you feel the urge of quitting, just think of all those food particles you leave behind. Do you really want them to sitting there in between your teeth? If not, then get flossing!

This article contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. The information is not intended to replace the advice or diagnosis of a physician. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare providers.