All About Flossing!


Flossing is an important step in an oral hygiene routine. This daily activity can help dislodge food stuck between your teeth, reduce the amount of plaque in your mouth, and ward off tooth decay and gum disease. While the importance of flossing has been expressed time and time again, many people continue to skip this vital step. According to a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), only 37 percent of respondents floss their teeth daily, 37 percent reported flossing less than daily, and 32 percent say they never floss.

Importance of Daily Flossing

Regular flossing plays a critical role in your dental health and wellness. When you fail to floss daily, plaque can start to accumulate between your teeth and along the gum line. Over time, plaque can harden into tartar which can only be removed by a dental professional with the proper equipment. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), interdental cleaners like floss help remove the plaque and debris that cannot be easily reached with a toothbrush alone.

Here is a closer look at how daily flossing can benefit your oral health:

  • Eliminate Sticky Plaque – Plaque is a sticky, colorless film that accumulates on and between your teeth. While it can be difficult to see, the bacteria on plaque releases acids that attack tooth email. Without prompt removal, plaque can lead to cavities and gum disease.
  • Reduce Tooth Decay Risk – Cavities refer to small holes or openings in the hard surfaces of your teeth, or enamel. Although it can take time for plaque to develop into a cavity, the more plaque that a person has the higher their risk. Flossing at least once a day helps to remove hidden food and plaque, thus reducing your risk of tooth decay.
  • Prevent Gum Disease – Gum disease is a common condition that starts with its earliest stage, gingivitis. There are several signs that could indicate that you have gingivitis, such as inflammation around the gums or bleeding when you brush or floss. Without treatment, gingivitis can lead to a more serious infection called periodontitis. Periodontitis can cause the gums to recede and can cause a loss of bone support, causing your teeth to potentially loosen.
  • Keep Bad Breath at Bay – Also known as halitosis, bad breath is a problem that affects people of all ages. When food becomes trapped between your teeth, it can start to decay, causing foul-smelling breath. Flossing is one of the best tools for eliminating bad breath.
  • Contribute to Heart Health – One benefit that many people don’t know about flossing is that it can actually help your heart health. According to a study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, participants who followed a high standard of oral hygiene care experienced a decreased risk of heart failure and atrial fibrillation.

Instructions for Proper Flossing

When flossing your teeth, it’s important to use the proper techniques to achieve a deep clean and avoid irritating your gums or dislodging fillings or crowns. Follow these simple steps for proper flossing:

1. Break off about 18 inches of dental floss. Wind the majority of the floss at each end around your middle fingers, leaving just one to two inches.

2. Hold the floss taut between your index fingers and thumb. Do not pull too hard to avoid snapping the floss.

3. Gently glide the section of floss between two teeth. Rub in an up and down motion against the sides of each tooth. Avoid flossing into your gums with too much force as this can cause irritation or possible bleeding.

4. Once the floss reaches the gum line, curve the floss to create a “C” shape. This shape allows the floss to reach the tight space between your teeth and gums.

5. Repeat these steps as you move from tooth to tooth. As you progress through your mouth, use a new section of floss. Discard the used floss once you are finished.

Contact Bonham Dental Arts

Need to find a dentist and you are located in or around Largo, FL? Meet the friendly dental team at Bonham Dental Arts. We offer a wide variety of services, including family dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, and sedation dentistry. For more information about flossing or to schedule an appointment, contact Bonham Dental Arts today.