What's this business about flossing?

When are you meant to floss and why?

Intan Nobury


Nov 2, 16

3 min read

Photo by Oana Cristina on Unsplash

It’s no secret that we don’t like chores. You can hire a gardener to mow your lawn and a housekeeper to keep your kitchen tidy – but you can’t hire someone to floss your teeth! Based on research conducted by the American Academy of Periodontology, more than 1/3 people (of the 2021 people measured) say they much rather clean the toilet than floss every day! These are crazy stats! The same study also show that a lot of us lie to our dentist about flossing our teeth. Major tsk tsk!

When are you meant to floss and why?

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that we floss at least once daily. A lot of people question, ‘Am I meant to floss before or after I brush my teeth?’ The truth is, it doesn’t really matter. I have asked two nurses, one receptionist and two of my sisters what order they floss and brush. Of the answers, 50% said they flossed then brushed and 50% said they brushed then flossed. None of them could tell me what order was the “right” order.

The ADA suggests that we should floss prior to brushing to clean the spaces between our teeth and allow the toothpaste to clean all aspects of our enamel (if you brush thoroughly).

Here are the beneficial aspects of flossing:

  • It reduces Gingivitis
  • Minimizes the development of plaque and bacteria
  • Those germs generate an acid that irritates your gums and can lead to gum disease – why not prevent it from happening?
  • Removes food that is stuck between your teeth and the discomfort of it
  • Improves oral hygiene

If you’re a virgin at flossing, chances are you will bleed and will continue to bleed until your gums adjust. The more you do it, the more you will regret starting so late! It is amazing how much gunk you find between your teeth. Trust me – I was a late bloomer as well.

How can I get rid of the gunk between my teeth?

There are many types of floss made for different purposes!


A lot of us will be quite familiar with stringed floss. They’re easy, simple and our friend – don’t forget that! They can come in great minty flavors and either waxed or un-waxed, based on your personal preference.


The inter-dental brushes work great to thoroughly clean the gaps between your teeth.  It effectively removes plaque through the inter-proximity of your teeth and can be useful for those who have larger hands and find it harder to use string floss. We often recommend bristle brushes for our orthodontic patients as it successfully gets between those hard to reach spaces!

Flosser Picks

Flosser picks are a great alternative to wrapping string between your fingers. They are essentially stringed floss but on a nifty little handle. Many people enjoy it’s convenience, especially children that are transcending into the habit of flossing.

Dental Water-jet

The water flosser offers a spa dental-clean feel. It works by aiming water at your teeth to assist in removing particles of food. It is reported to assist in reducing the effect of bleeding gums.

Written By

Intan Nobury

An appreciator of art, novels and high intensity sports. With a passion for work and a dangerous addiction to tea.

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American Academy of Periodontology (2015). More than a quarter of U.S. adults are dishonest with dentists about how often they floss their teeth. [online] Available at: https://www.perio.org/consumer/quarter-of-adults-dishonest-with-dentists [Accessed 9 Dec. 2019].


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Clinical content and cases are from Dr.Dee’s personal gallery, full-face photos are with due consent from our patients.