Woman flossing

According to a recent survey completed by Delta Dental, only
4 out of 10 Americans floss once a day. At least 20% of the population doesn’t
floss at all. Flossing may seem like a hassle at times but skipping this step
in your oral routine can have serious consequences on your dental health. In
this post, your dentist in Scarborough will explain what flossing does for you
that brushing can’t.

How Do I Benefit from Flossing?

Flossing helps you remove bacteria-filled plaque from your
teeth. Unlike brushing, flossing can reach in between your teeth and underneath
your gums. These hard-to-reach areas are where the most destructive bacteria
exist. When you neglect flossing, plaque can run rampant in your mouth. This
puts you at risk of two major dental issues: gingivitis and cavities. 

Plaque irritates your gum tissue, causing it to inflame and
bleed easily, which breeds more bacteria and can result in gingivitis (the
first stage of gum disease). When left untreated, gingivitis can bloom into
periodontitis and cause serious infections, tooth loss and may even raise your
risk of heart disease.

Plaque can also destroy the enamel on your teeth, leading to
the formation cavities. Untreated cavities continue to grow larger and affect
deeper layers of your teeth. This leads to toothaches and possibly infection
and tooth loss.

How Do I Floss Correctly?

To get the most out of flossing, make sure your technique is
right. Start with about 18 inches of floss and wind it around each middle
finger. Leave an inch or two of floss to clean with and hold it tightly between
your fingers. Gently slide the floss in between your teeth, moving it up and
down. Curve the floss around the base of each tooth, making sure to go below
the gumline. Alternate between clean sections of floss as you progress.

The type of floss you use is also important. You can choose
between nylon floss or PTFE floss. Nylon floss can be waxed or unwaxed and comes
in a variety of flavors. However, it might tear or shred in tight contact
points, including in between your teeth. The more expensive single-filament
PTFE floss slides in easier between your teeth and is shred-resistant. Both are
effective and you should choose whichever you prefer.

Flossing may not be fun, but it’s a necessary step in
maintaining your oral health. Ask your dentist if you want more tips
on flossing

About the Author

Dr. Samantha Amaro has almost a decade of experience
practicing dentistry. She is a member of the Ontario Dental Association, Royal
College of Dental Surgeons, and the Toronto Academy of Dentistry. If you have
further questions about your oral hygiene routine, she can be reached through her
website or at