Female flossing her teeth

Is Flossing As Important As Brushing?

You hear it every time you go to the dentist for a routine cleaning. We and other dentists have been drilling into not only your teeth but your heads, that flossing is one of the most important steps of your morning or nightly routines. That flossing is crucial in the prevention of gingivitis and gum disease. That if you don’t floss every single day of your life, all of your teeth will fall out by the age of 30! Whatever you may have heard, one thing was certain: flossing has always been just as important as brushing your teeth.

Should We Stop Flossing?

No! It can be confusing, all of the contradicting information that has surfaced as of late. You may have heard a few people say that flossing might be ineffective. It started late last year when the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services neglected to mention flossing in one of their reports on dietary guidelines for Americans. A short time after that, the Associated Press released an article called, “Medical benefits of dental floss unproven” in which it suggested that there is only weak evidence for flossing’s effectiveness.

The article called attention to the fact that all of the evidence that people have been basing their beliefs on used outdated methods and tested on too few people for too short amount of time. Basically, the AP cracked open a case that was thought to be tightly sealed for generations. The phrase “Don’t forget to floss!” has been so ingrained in the dentistry vernacular that it has become the punchline of several jokes in movies and TV shows.

Dentists still recommend flossing at least once daily to remove plaque build up from those hard to reach nooks and crannies that you can’t reach with a toothbrush. These reports are merely saying that there is no positive evidence towards flossing to indicate its drastic effectiveness, but there is also no negative evidence. Dentists have no good reason NOT to tell you to floss and, really, it couldn’t hurt! In fact, it can still be beneficial in the removal of bacteria and food debris. The American Dental Hygienists Association has responded to any naysayers by offering their support for flossing done “with proper technique.” But what does that exactly mean?

Flossing Tips:

  • Pull out around 18 inches of floss and wind it around whichever finger gives you the most control. Do this on both hands so that there are only a few inches of taut string in between fingers.
  • Slide the floss in between the teeth. Run it back and forth along each side of each tooth.
  • When you reach the gum, do NOT snap or force it in. Contour the floss into a c-shape, then gently slide it in between the gum line and tooth to remove any debris under the very edge of the gum line.
  • Repeat process for each tooth, making sure to use a clean piece of the floss each time.
  • Don’t forget to floss the back side of your teeth!

Don’t forget to schedule your regular teeth cleaning with your local dentists here at Eagle Rock Dental Care in Rexburg! While regular brushing and flossing is a great habit for the wellness of your teeth and gums, regular professional maintenance is required to keep more serious issues at bay.


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