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Debunking Flossing

Updated 26th November 2019  

The ideal is to floss every day for a clean and healthy mouth. Flossing reduces the number of harmful bacteria, prevents cavities between teeth where tooth brushes cannot reach, and massages the gums. One or two studies may suggest flossing is not effective (the current studies questioning the benefits of flossing are incomplete) but a few hundred studies suggest it has definite benefits.  Read on to debunk some common misconceptions.


I only need to floss when I have food caught between my teeth

This isn’t the only reason to floss. Floss also removes dental plaque between your teeth which if left to sit there causes tooth decay, gum disease, and even tooth & bone loss.  Floss regularly, not just when food gets stuck.


Flossing is difficult and floss doesn’t fit.

Flossing when teeth are in tight contact can be challenging. Use a seesaw motion, moving the floss backward and forward to manoeuvre it between the tight spaces between your teeth.  Try waxed floss that can slide between tight spaces more easily or a different floss, as some are thinner than others.

If you are having difficulty, we can help you with your technique.  If you struggle to floss in the traditional way, try a flossette which can be easier to manage for those difficult-to-reach back teeth and can be used with just one hand.


Flossing is painful

Flossing can be uncomfortable for people with gum disease at first, but with regular flossing your gums will improve and flossing shouldn’t hurt at all.  If you are experiencing pain when you floss, make an appointment as soon as possible to get on top of gum issues.


Flossing makes my gums bleed.

Seeing blood when you floss can be a little scary, but it’s definitely not a reason to give up flossing. Some people bleed because they’re flossing too enthusiastically.  If you bleed a lot, be gentler and see whether you bleed less. However, bleeding during flossing is a common sign of gum disease. If you think you might have gum disease, schedule an appointment with us.  The sooner the problem is treated, the better the outcome.


Flossing makes receding gums worse

Flossing can actually prevent gums from receding, since it cleans food particles and bacteria out from below the gum line.  That makes flossing crucial for people with hereditary receding gums and gingivitis.  If your gums are already receding due to periodontitis, flossing daily can help prevent further damage.


Flossing will cause my fillings to fall out

A filling that’s already loose or fractured may fall out during flossing, but these fillings would need replacing anyway. Flossing can actually alert you to problems with your fillings you might not be aware of otherwise.  Flossing won’t cause fillings or crowns in good condition to fall out.  In fact, failing to floss every day will make it more likely you’ll need more fillings and crowns.


The basic truth is floss the teeth you want to keep.  Or to put it another way:  Take the “F” out of “Floss” and you get “loss”.


If you want to talk about any concerns, please visit our website Lydiard St Dental Clinic to contact us via phone or make your own appointment with our online booking system.  Alternatively, you can leave a message on our Online Contact Form and we'll call you back as soon as we can.  Our friendly team is always happy to help you. :)