Woman holding natural silk floss

The Truth about Flossing

Posted by Simon Cooper on

This is a guest post by Kellie Sweeney, Registered Dental Hygienist

Do you tell your dental hygienist the whole truth?

Do you really floss every day? Or does every day actually mean “yeah maybe once or twice a week”? Or do you even do it at all? I even get the odd client who tells me the last time they flossed was when I did it for them at their last dental cleaning - 3, 4, 6 or even more months ago. While I appreciate the honesty, this is a big no no!

Trust me when I say, as a dental hygienist, we know.

When you skip out on flossing you’re only cleaning 70% of your mouth. That’s like washing your body and not cleaning between your toes, under your armpits and all the unmentionables. Yep I went there! But it gets the point across, doesn’t it?

Flossing removes debris between the teeth and below the gumline where your toothbrush simply cannot reach. There is a space between your tooth and gum called the sulcus. This is where bacteria like to hang out. If untouched (ie, not flossed) this bacteria multiplies and turn into inflammatory causing bacteria. This is how you get gum disease. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. You may experience red, puffy, bleeding gums, likely with little to no pain. Gingivitis is completely reversible... IF you floss and brush daily.

Periodontitis is the destructive stage of gum disease, most often caused by poor or ineffective oral hygiene. If the bacteria in the sulcus continues to be stagnant (ie. not removed by floss), you begin to lose the supporting bone that hold your teeth in place. This is your body's way of trying to rid itself of infected tissue. Periodontitis is not reversible. Your bone will not grow back. Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss. Not to mention, gum disease can contribute to many other health conditions, which we will talk about in a later post.

A lot of people ask, “so when should I floss?”

While the answer seems simple, it isn't. Have you ever tried to implement a new routine as an adult? Think new year's resolutions—exercising more, eating healthier, etc.

How often do you actually stick with it? In an ideal world or for my veteran flossers, it’s best to do it before you brush to remove the debris and then brush it away. But rarely do people actually floss on the regular.

So if it’s not part of your routine, I tell my clients “I’ll take it when I can get it.” For some, that’s first thing in the morning. For others it’s before bed. Do what works for you. Once you engrain flossing in your daily routine, then we can talk about the ideal time and techniques and best floss for you. All that I ask is you give it at least two weeks.

Two weeks. That's all it takes to reap the benefits of daily flossing. If you're consistent and effective, you will notice less bleeding of your gums, your gums will appear a healthy pink instead of red and puffy, better breath, better taste, even less staining.

Friends, it only takes a minute to do! Today is national Flossing day and this is your friendly reminder to go floss!

If you're struggling, reach out! I'm happy to help.


Did you know you receive COMPLIMENTARY oral hygiene instructions specific to your mouth with your Diamond or Platinum whitening session with Shine by Kellie? Your dentist can charge upwards of $45 for this service!

Valerie Konopud

December 9, 2020

Thank you for the reminder of how important flossing is. Is using a Waterpik just as effective as flossing?

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