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Q: Why is it important to use dental floss?

A: Brushing our teeth removes food particles, plaque, and bacteria from all tooth surfaces, except in between the teeth.  Unfortunately, our toothbrush can’t reach these areas that are highly susceptible to decay and periodontal (gum) disease.

Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gumline.  Flossing not only helps clean these spaces, it disrupts plaque colonies from building up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.

Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth.  It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva.  The bacteria produce toxins (acids) that cause cavities and irritate and inflame the gums.  Also, when plaque is not removed above and below the gumline, it hardens and turns into calculus (tartar).  This will further irritate and inflame the gums and also slowly destroy the bone.  This is the beginning of periodontal disease.

How to floss properly:

  • Take 30-40cm of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 5cm of floss between the hands.

  • Using your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently insert the floss between teeth using a sawing motion.

  • Curve the floss into a “C” shape around each tooth and under the gumline.  Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the side of each tooth.

  • Floss holders can be used if you have difficulty using regular floss.

  • Superfloss is used to clean under fixed bridges and beneath and around orthodontic braces.

  • Ask your dentist or oral hygienist to demonstrate!


Daily flossing will help you keep a healthy, beautiful smile for life!

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