Dental Tips Blog


Is Flossing an Outdated Oral Hygiene Practice?

Recently, the dental community was shaken up by some groundbreaking news.

A review found that there are no formal, scientific studies to date conclusively showing that individual flossing prevents oral disease.

Does this overturn everything your dentist has told you so far? No. Here’s the main reason: it’s extremely difficult to measure flossing.

The Challenge of Critiquing Floss Effectiveness

Flossing studies are limited by:

  • The number of participants
  • Dishonest participants
  • How long the study is carried out
  • Individual flossing technique

What Makes Flossing Effective

Flossing can be completely pointless if it’s not done correctly. If you ask your hygienist to show you at your next dental cleaning and checkup, you’ll learn that the action is a bit more involved than an up-down motion. Flossing also takes daily commitment to experience the benefits.

Why Should You Bother?

One thing everyone agrees on is the fact that dental plaque is responsible for cavities and gum disease. Get rid of the plaque on a daily basis and you reduce your risk for these problems.

Tooth brushing usually isn’t enough to access spots between teeth that hide bacteria. Whether you use floss, an interdental brush, a water flosser, or anything else, plaque removal is the ultimate goal.

Supplement Your Flossing Efforts

What people need to understand is that it’s not flossing in itself that’s so important.

You need to reinforce your teeth with fluoride and have them professionally cleaned twice a year or more. Special ingredients in mouthwashes and toothpaste help prevent plaque development in the first place.

The bottom line is this: flossing by itself is not the solution but it is an integral part of your preventive dental care. Ask your dentist for a professional opinion.

Posted on behalf of:
Southern Charm Dental
7119 FM 1464 #312
Richmond, TX 77407
(832) 648-3685


Use the Floss that Suits Your Smile

Floss should be used by everyone, but it isn’t exactly a one-size-fits-all item!

The goal of flossing is to physically disrupt bacterial colonies that form in the plaque on your teeth…especially in areas where a toothbrush can’t reach.

Here are a few guidelines for effective flossing. Floss should:

  • Have direct contact with the side of the tooth
  • Reach below the gum line
  • Not harm the gums

Not all teeth are spaced out the same way. People’s mouths vary, and even your own teeth may be positioned and spaced differently. This means that different areas will have unique needs for cleaning them.

Take into consideration the shape of the tooth. The crowns of teeth have mostly outward curves, but if roots are exposed, they could have concavities (inward curves), where plaque can hide.

When you look at the space between two teeth, how much gum tissue is there? Healthy gums are shaped like a triangle of pink that prevent you from seeing between teeth. These areas benefit from traditional floss. If teeth are crowded, a tape or ribbon-style floss that stretches out will be more comfortable.

Where there are large gaps between teeth, a wider material will be gentler and easier to control. Some types of floss have fluffy fibers on them, making them look like yarn. This makes them absorbent and easier to wrap around teeth that don’t have contact with their neighbors.

What about teeth with exposed roots? A wedge-shaped wooden stick or “Proxa Brush” is usually gentle on sensitive roots and lets you access all of the tricky curves.

Water flossers can be helpful in hard-to-reach areas around bridges or the back teeth.

At your next dental cleaning and check up, ask your dentist or dental hygienist about the most effective way to floss your unique smile!

Posted on behalf of:
Grateful Dental
2000 Powers Ferry Rd SE #1
Marietta, GA 30067
(678) 593-2979


Are You Flossing the Wrong Way?

It’s hard enough to remember to floss – but if you’re flossing the wrong way, you could actually be doing more harm than good. Flossing isn’t difficult, but it does mean that you need to take a few different steps to make sure flossing is done properly:

Bleeding Doesn’t Mean You Should Stop Flossing

One of the biggest concerns that people have when they floss is making their gums bleed. If you floss irregularly, you probably have gingivitis. One of the signs of gingivitis and gum disease is bleeding gums. It can take flossing every day for up to two weeks before bleeding goes away. 

Wrap the Floss Tightly Around Your Tooth

Floss needs to be wrapped in a “C” shape around your tooth and then rubbed up and down against the tooth under the gumlines. Keeping the floss straight and jerking it up and down can cut or permanently damage your gums. The key is to clean the curves of your teeth and the pockets below your gumlines. 

Chose Your Floss Picks Wisely

As noted above, you need to be able to curve the floss around your tooth. Cheaper versions of most floss picks won’t allow you to do that around your back teeth. They are usually ok for front teeth or for children, but not comprehensive adult oral hygiene. Consider getting a flosser with a “Y” shape that is easier to reach the back teeth with.

Can’t Reach? Consider a Water Flosser

Water flossers are a great, efficient alternative to traditional flossing. Although they are messy in the beginning, water flossers do an excellent job at keeping your smile clean and healthy.

Posted on behalf of:
Mansouri Family Dental Care & Associates
4720 Lower Roswell Rd
Marietta, GA 30068
(770) 973-8222


Flossing 101

Posted in Gum Disease

Many people concentrate on keeping their teeth clean and looking their best. People brush their teeth at least twice a day, they rinse with a plaque fighting mouthwash, they whiten their teeth, and they even chew sugar free gum. However, many people miss the most important step in oral health – flossing. Gum disease begins at the gum line and between the teeth. Daily flossing in an important step of an oral hygiene routine to help remove plaque that builds up between the teeth that a toothbrush can not completely reach. But there is more than one way to floss.

There is an improper way: flicking the tight strands of floss between your teeth and calling it done.

And then there is a proper way to floss. Flossing 101:

Step One: Wind 18 inches of floss around the middle fingers of each hand. (18 inches may sound like a lot of floss, but as you use the floss between teeth you will want to repeatedly have a clean area of floss to use.) Pinch the floss between the thumbs and index fingers leaving a one to two inch gap in between. Use your thumbs to direct the floss upward between the upper teeth and the index fingers to direct the floss downward between the lower teeth.

Step Two: Keep the one to two inch length of floss between each hand taut so that it will move smoothly between the teeth and will remove plaque.

Step Three: Gently guide the floss between the teeth in a zig-zag motion. DO NOT snap the floss between your teeth. This will do nothing more than litter your bathroom mirror with spit, and is not effective in removing unwanted plaque.

Step Four: Slide the floss up and down against the tooth surface and under the gum line. As the taut section of floss is used and becomes dirty, move down the floss to a clean section.

It does not matter whether your start at the front of the mouth or the back, technique is key to proper flossing. Remember to floss all of your teeth; not just the ones in the front. Food particles can become trapped under the gum and along the sides of the teeth in the front or the back. Removing them and plaque will help to ensure your mouth will stay healthy.

Posted of the behalf of Justin Scott




Which Comes First: Brushing or Flossing?

In combination with regular dental cleanings and exams, daily flossing and brushing is the cornerstone of good preventative dental care.  There are numerous theories about whether flossing should come before brushing, or vice versa. One take is that by brushing first, you can remove a majority of the debris in the mouth, leaving only the small amounts between the teeth which need to be removed by flossing afterward. Hence, follow up with some floss to remove the smaller particles that are left after a good brushing.

Others say that flossing is better to do before you brush. A key argument on this is that fluoride from toothpaste may not be able to access areas between your teeth unless you remove the plaque from these areas first. Flossing before brushing could possibly allow for better fluoride contact in these key areas. However, flossing before brushing still means there is a large amount of plaque and food residue floating around the teeth, and may not allow for optimal cleaning with floss.

To ask whether or not you should brush or floss first, probably means that you’re actually doing both on a regular basis. Unfortunately, many people avoid flossing completely. The fact of the matter is, if you’re flossing, no matter what order it falls in with brushing, you’re doing yourself a favor. Flossing helps eliminate bacteria in areas that brushing will always be unable to reach. It also brings oxygen into areas that develop gum disease, and helps eliminate gum infection, prevent tartar buildup, and reduces the risk of decay. Wonderful tooth brushers can still develop gum disease and decay between their teeth, so as long as you’re flossing at least once per day, tightly around each tooth and extending down under the gumlines, you’re doing it right.

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