Do We All Actually Need to Floss Our Teeth? Here’s The Evidence

As a dentist, my clients typically check with regardless of whether they nevertheless need to have to floss even although they brush their tooth. The reply is – that is dependent.

A review of the investigation on this matter uncovered flossing, combined with frequent brushing, diminished the probability of bleeding gums. But the review could not give evidence flossing prevented holes (tooth cavities) from forming.


This is possible due to the fact all of the integrated studies had been done inside of one particular to 3 month intervals. A number of months is lengthy more than enough to detect bleeding gums, but not for cavities to increase significantly.

So studies in the review looked at the efficiency of flossing on protecting against gum illness alternatively than cavities.

But at the extremely minimum, we know frequent flossing shields our gum wellness, which in transform shields our tooth. So it’s definitely well worth doing.

The assistance could be different if you have specific dental circumstances – but we are going to get to that later on.

Why should I floss?

Cavities and gum illness are largely brought on by plaque that accumulates on our tooth and gums. Dental plaque is part of a intricate ecosystem that includes 800 different forms of micro organism uncovered in our mouth.

Our plaque’s exclusive ecosystem is a like a significant town, and brushing is like Godzilla destroying the infrastructure. But plaque micro organism can rebuild infrastructure relatively rapidly, which is why we brush commonly.

Brushing, nevertheless, is not extremely helpful at cleaning in concerning your tooth. And it’s the plaque that remains in these areas that qualified prospects to most cavities and gum illness. So that’s the place flossing arrives in – to cleanse concerning the tooth.


If plaque on our tooth and gums are still left lengthy more than enough, the mineral in our saliva hardens it to kind a white chalky material referred to as calculus. The calculus functions as a house to many different forms of micro organism that can advance gum illness.

The moment shaped, calculus is not possible to clear away by brushing or flossing by itself. It needs to be taken off using distinctive instruments at the dentist.

What is actually the huge deal about bleeding gums?

Related to the way medical practitioners measure wellness by examining your blood stress, dentists and hygienists gently poke your gums to see if they bleed.

Bleeding gums typically signal the existence of uncleaned plaque and/or calculus in the place. You could even discover bleeding immediately after you brush your tooth or take in specific meals.

To a dental practitioner, bleeding gums indicate you are at hazard of acquiring state-of-the-art gum problems, referred to as periodontal illness. This condition sees the foundations that hold your tooth in your jaw bone deteriorate, inevitably resulting in your tooth to loosen and fall out.

Socially embarrassing by-items of state-of-the-art gum illness contain:

  • loose tooth
  • a yellow/brown smile
  • huge black gaps appearing concerning your tooth the place the gums have shrunk absent
  • terrible breath.


So the act of flossing can serve to safeguard your smile.

Existing evidence also indicates periodontal illness is involved with an improved hazard of heart illness and diabetes, amongst other wellness problems.

Ok, so I should definitely floss then?

This is dependent on your current condition. Just like you would not mop your rug or vacuum the shower recess, we have certain instruments to match each cleaning condition. Flossing (proficiently) is good if:

  • you nevertheless have most of your tooth
  • your tooth are tightly jammed with each other
  • your gums have not receded to depart triangular gaps concerning your tooth.

While for a lot of us this could be the case, for some of us, only flossing our tooth and gums will be ineffective. Particularly if you have:

  • gaps concerning your tooth that are also huge for floss to cleanse
  • intricate dental perform these kinds of as crowns, bridges and implants
  • partial dentures (dentures that switch some missing tooth)
  • orthodontic appliances these kinds of as braces.

In these cases, we have to start out wondering about interdental cleaning, or using other instruments to cleanse concerning your tooth these kinds of as distinctive Xmas tree-shaped brushes or sticks.

If you really don’t consider flossing is right for you, check with about interdental (concerning tooth) cleaning in the course of your next visit to the dentist. Your dentist or hygienist will be equipped to suggest items and a cleaning regime to match your needs.


Tips for superior flossing

To floss proficiently, hold in intellect:

  • floss at minimum as soon as a working day
  • floss just before brushing so it results in being part of your regime
  • minimize thirty-40cm of frequent floss for just about every use
  • wrap most of it close to the finger of one particular hand and two-3cm close to the finger of another
  • bit by bit move the floss toward the gums to ensure you cleanse both equally tooth.

Flossing can lead to some bleeding, but this will resolve more than time.

Flossing can take some time to grasp. But the much more typically you floss, the quicker and better you can turn into. And what better time to practise than when you are trapped at house in the course of a pandemic?

Arosha Weerakoon, Lecturer, Standard Dentist & PhD Applicant, The University of Queensland.

This short article is republished from The Conversation beneath a Artistic Commons license. Browse the unique short article.