Why And How To Floss

Dental Designs Clinic Singapore
27 Sep, 2022

Many of us think we have really good oral hygiene. We brush our teeth thoroughly twice a day, drink lots of water, avoid smoking and sometimes use mouthwash before leaving the house to ensure our breath stays fresh and minty. Nobody ever complains that we have bad breath, and our smile remains white and pristine. Not flossing can’t be such a big deal. Can it?

Many regard flossing as an optional part of oral care. Most dentists will assure you that it really isn't. The bacteria responsible for causing cavities have a tendency to hide in the areas and small pockets between the gums and the tooth, areas usually impenetrable by regular toothbrush bristles. The only way to reliably get this bacteria out? Dental floss.

Here are a few other compelling reasons to stop by at a local pharmacy, purchase the nicest looking satin floss off the shelf and start inserting flossing into your daily oral hygiene routine.


Avoiding tartar builduptartar buildup

What is tartar anyway? Tartar, otherwise known as dental calculus, is a deposit on your teeth that serves to trap stains on the teeth, causing very noticeable discolouration. Once it forms, it is very hard to remove. When plaque is unremoved, there is a chance that hardens and becomes tartar. Flossing nightly will prevent plaque from forming and prevents tartar formation at one’s gum line.


Flossing removes trapped food from your teethasian woman holding fruit

Ever smile at someone in the middle of a post-lunch conversation and have their friendly demeanour abruptly turn into wry concern? Yes, there might just be large strand from a corn husk sticking out from in between your two front teeth. Not a great look especially if you’re trying to close an important business deal. Excuse yourself to the washroom and give your teeth good flossing after mid-day meals, especially after consuming food that has a tendency to get stuck in your teeth like fibrous vegetables, stringy meats, corn-on-the-cob and other culprits. 


Preventing Bad Breathwoman checking her breath

Your mouth is not exactly the most sterile environment. There’s a lot of bacteria that exist in your mouth, some of them natural to your oral habitat. Food that gets trapped in between your teeth is rapidly broken down by these bacteria, causing an unpleasant odour. Flossing is the most direct and effective way to stop giving the bacteria in your mouth an all-you-can-eat buffet.


Preventing Gum Disease

Many of us hate plaque due to how it makes our teeth look aesthetically. It stains our teeth and gives it a grimy, unclean look. However, a far more dangerous reality comes with plaque formation: the potential to develop periodontal disease. Plaque buildup can also cause inflammation of the gums which leaves the gums susceptible to infection.

As it eats away at the gum tissue, this can eventually result in periodontal disease. When worsened, this may result in decay of the gum and bone structure of the teeth, destroying the root canal and resulting in complete loss of the tooth. Flossing helps to remove the bacteria at the most vulnerable area of the gums - the base.

Flossing is low-cost and highly effective. It can also give a weirdly satisfying sensation to your mouth as it feels really clean and liberated. If you don’t already floss daily, it can’t hurt to start now!


So, What Is The Proper Way To Floss?

  1. Begin by taking 45cm to 60cm of dental floss and hold about 3cm to 5cm length of it tightly between your index fingers.
  2. Gently guide the floss between your teeth.
  3. Once it is between and under the teeth, curve the floss around each tooth to form a "C" shape, sliding it up and down against the tooth surface and under the gumline. Use a clean section of floss for each tooth.
  4. Take care to be gentle near the gums to prevent bruising.
  5. When moving to a new tooth, unroll fresh floss from one hand while rolling used floss onto the other hand's finger. Use your thumb to guide the floss.
  6. Don't forget to also floss the backside of each tooth for thorough cleaning!


  1. Worthington HV, MacDonald L, Poklepovic Pericic T, Sambunjak D, Johnson TM, Imai P, Clarkson JE. Home use of interdental cleaning devices, in addition to toothbrushing, for preventing and controlling periodontal diseases and dental caries. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2019 Apr 10;4(4):CD012018. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD012018.pub2. PMID: 30968949; PMCID: PMC6953268.