Brushing your teeth is not enough to maintain good oral health over time. Flossing should be a regular part of your oral hygiene routine.
Medically Reviewed by Niya Jones, MD, MPH
Cleaning the spaces between your teeth and along your gums with dental floss is as important to your oral health as cleaning your teeth with a toothbrush. Just like you brush your teeth every day, flossing should be part of your daily routine.
To better understand why flossing is so important, Richard H. Price, DMD, spokesperson for the American Dental Association (ADA) and a former clinical instructor at Boston University Dental School, compares it to cleaning your home: “You cannot effectively vacuum a house with only one attachment,” he says. “You need other attachments to get into the nooks and crannies. That’s what floss does.”
The Benefits of Flossing to Your Oral Health
There are many benefits to regularly flossing your teeth. Dental floss can help clear food debris and plaque from the spaces between your teeth, where your toothbrush can’t reach. As a result, flossing helps prevent gum or periodontal diseases, tooth decay, and bad breath.
There are certain things to keep in mind to get the most out of flossing:
- Use dental floss or an interdental cleaner every day.
- Floss at least once a day.
- Be gentle when using dental floss so you avoid damaging gum tissue.
- If long threads of regular dental floss are too hard for you to hold, use a floss holder.
A Variety of Dental Cleaning Products
Drugstores offer a mindboggling variety of dental cleaning tools. These include:
- Waxed dental floss
- Unwaxed dental floss