The value of flossing
Brushing teeth properly and consistently helps remove most dental plaque. But brushing alone can't remove plaque found in places that a toothbrush can't reach -- such as between teeth and under the gums. In addition to removing plaque, flossing also helps:
To be most effective, you need to floss at least once a day for 2 to 3 minutes each time.
What type of floss is best?
It doesn't matter what type of dental floss you use, the benefits are the same. Regular, consistent flossing is the single most important weapon against plaque. It may be more important than the toothbrush. The different types of dental floss include:
Waxed and unwaxed
Flavored and unflavored
Wide and regular
Textured and smooth
Flossing methods for adults
Your dentist or other oral healthcare provider can show you how to do any of these flossing methods. They include:
Other flossing techniques
Flossing tools, such as a prethreaded flosser or floss holder may be helpful for people who are just learning how to floss. It may also aid people with limited dexterity in their arms or hands, or people who are flossing the teeth of someone else (such as a child or disabled person).
Oral irrigators are not a substitute for tooth brushing and flossing. These devices may help clean around braces that retain food or in areas a toothbrush can't reach. However, they do not remove plaque that contains harmful bacteria.
- Eakle, W. Stephen, DDS
- Kapner, Michael, DDS