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Do I need to floss my teeth?

If you have ever been to a dentist or hygienist appointment, you will have been asked about your oral hygiene routine. They will have also made an emphasis on finding out if you floss on a regular basis.

Despite dentists all over the country promoting the importance of flossing every day, only 31% of UK adults say that they clean between their teeth on a daily basis.

We find many patients don’t understand the importance of flossing their teeth, so simply don’t make it part of their routine. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of flossing and how to actually clean between your teeth.

What is flossing?

Flossing is the process of cleaning in between the teeth. Brushing alone only cleans 60% of the surfaces of the teeth. By flossing, you are ensuring that the other 40% is also being cleaned of plaque and food particles that may be stuck otherwise.

You can use either dental tape or interdental brushes to clean between your teeth. You should floss your teeth at least once a day, but this can be increased to twice a day if you really want to look after the health of your teeth.

Why should you floss your teeth?

When you floss your teeth, you are removing plaque and food particles that would otherwise be stuck between your teeth. When plaque builds up and is not removed, it turns into tartar, which then starts to decay the teeth.

Another reason to floss your teeth is to help prevent gum disease. When you develop gum disease, or periodontitis, you are at risk of swollen and bleeding gums, receding gums and even tooth loss.

What’s the correct flossing technique?

  • Before you begin flossing, you should wash your hands to prevent any spread of germs.
  • Break off a piece of dental floss around 18 inches long.
  • Wrap the ends of the floss around your fingers and keep around an inch gap between your two index fingers.
  • Glide the floss between the gap of the teeth and slide in a zig zag motion to remove any debris.
  • Use a different section of the tape for each gap, and repeat the process.
  • We would recommend then rinsing with alcohol-free mouthwash.

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Website last updated: September 2020

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