Is Flossing REALLY Necessary? The Truth from a Dentist

Too many people ask if flossing is necessary. We say YES! And so do the leading national dental and health care organizations:

  • The American Dental Association recommends cleaning between your teeth daily with an interdental cleaner—like floss—as an essential part of your regular teeth and gum care.
  • In an August 2016 communication, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also reaffirmed flossing as “an important oral hygiene practice.”
  • In addition to all of the benefits to your teeth and gums, flossing may benefit your heart health, too. The American Heart Association reports that there is a connection between the health of your mouth and the overall health of your body and heart.

Now that we are generally in agreement that flossing should be a necessary part of your regular dental routine, let’s learn about why you should floss and how best to floss.

Benefits of Flossing

A female dentist provides dental care to a young female patient in office. Dentists agree that there are a number of benefits to flossing, including:

  • Helping remove food particles and plaque that collect between teeth and along the gum line where your toothbrush can’t quite reach
  • Reducing the risk of cavities
  • Helping prevent against gum disease
  • Reducing the risk of bad breath by removing bacteria better than brushing alone
  • Reducing the occurrence of sore and reddened gums

When to Floss

Studies have shown that flossing before brushing your teeth is more effective in removing food particles and plaque. We recommend flossing before brushing your teeth at least once a day, either in the morning or at night before bed. Newtown Dentistry suggests leaving your floss next to your toothpaste and toothbrush as a regular reminder.

Some Tips for Proper Flossing

You know how good your teeth and mouth feel after leaving the dentist? That’s because dentists and dental technicians know how to properly brush and floss to remove any buildup. Take a look at this demonstration video from Newtown Dentistry on proper flossing. Once you see how they perform the practice, it’s simple to do it properly at home.

To properly floss, break off about 12 to 18 inches of floss and wrap both ends around your fingers. Gently move the floss up and down the sides of each tooth below the gumline. As stated in the video, if your gums bleed while flossing, you should continue. You are getting rid of any existing inflammation and building up your healthy gums.

What Are the Different Types of Floss?

A dentist discusses dental care with an adult male patient in office. According to a study associated with the ADA, Americans have used such handy items as fingernails (61%), folded paper or cards (40%), cutlery including a knife, fork, or spoon (21%), safety pins (14%), and even strands of hair (7%) to remove food stuck between their teeth. In addition to being less effective than floss, some of these items can cause unnecessary pain.

Here are some of the more common floss types readily available:

  • Wax and Unwaxed Thread: most often used for traditional flossing.
  • Super Floss: does everything thread floss does but also can clean underneath dental bridges and the brackets and wires in metal braces.
  • Floss Pick: a small plastic tool with a curved end that holds a piece of dental floss and is convenient for traveling or flossing on the go.
  • Air Flosser: a convenient way to floss, using air pressure to push out any food particles stuck between the teeth.
  • Water Flosser or Waterpick: uses water pressure to flush out food particles stuck between teeth.

Yes! Flossing is a Necessary Part of Your Dental Care Routine

 Image of the front entrance to Newtown Dentistry pediatric, adult, and ortho offices. Newtown Dentistry strongly recommends that regular flossing be a part of your regular dental routine, which should also include:

  • Brushing your teeth at least twice a day
  • Brushing your tongue
  • Using an antibacterial mouthwash every day
  • Visiting your dentist regularly—every six months or more if you have consistent oral issues
  • Avoiding smoking and other tobacco products

At Newtown Dentistry, we believe everyone deserves a beautiful smile and healthy mouth. We can help you and your family get on a regular schedule for proper regular dental care. Schedule your appointment now. Or, call us anytime at (215) 774-5496.


    Newtown Dentistry

  • DATE

    February 9, 2023


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