A woman holding oral floss

Flossing Is Good for the Gums

Flossing is an important part of a daily dental hygiene routine. Not only does it help keep teeth clean on surfaces toothbrushes cannot reach, but it also helps keep gums healthy, leading to better overall oral health. 

The Importance of Gum Health

Gum disease is one of the most prevalent afflictions in humanity, with up to a quarter of adults suffering from it, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Symptoms include inflammation, bad breath & in worse cases, issues with tooth root health. 

Flossing at least once a day helps prevent or control gum disease in a couple ways. First, it removes excess food from around teeth (be sure to floss below the gum line for best results). This reduces the chances of inflammation & even gum bleeding. As an extra bonus, without this chance of bleeding, your dentist is less likely to recommend periodontal maintenance over regular cleanings. 

Second, when not done too harshly, flossing helps stimulate gums &—without excess plaque & buildup—keeps your gum line at its healthy level. Gum recession is another problem with poorly maintained gum lines, especially as it can expose the lower root of teeth, which doesn’t have the same level of protective enamel as biting surfaces, which can lead to more problematic caries—or cavities.

What Kind of Floss to Get

Most dentists recommend using a non-waxed floss. Waxed floss can actually lead to more buildup of plaque as the soft wax coats your teeth. Floss is preferred by dentists over wooden toothpicks due to its efficacy & lower chance of damaging teeth. Get a floss that can fit fairly easily between your teeth. Some floss is flavored to help improve breath as well as the flossing experience.

Floss Debate

In the last several years, stories have reared their heads over whether or not flossing was needed for good oral health. While the statistical significance of flossing is still being researched, studies have shown flossing has a large effect on gum health, if not tooth health. 

What’s more, nothing has been shown to indicate that flossing is bad for your health. As one author noted, why stop flossing because scientists (yes, floss scientists) are still seeing how it may help us?

To learn more about flossing, including techniques for your individual bite, talk to your dentist at your next cleaning appointment.