Flossing

Used Dental Floss Magnified
Magnified image of used dental floss.
Photo credit: Steve Gschmeissner/Science Photo Library 

The British Columbia Dental Association encourages patients to remove plaque and food from all surfaces of their teeth on a daily basis as an effective way to reduce their risk of gum disease and tooth decay.

Careful daily brushing and flossing above and below the gum line along with limiting high sugar food and drinks remain simple but important steps to maintain your oral and overall health.

Brushing alone only cleans about two-thirds of your teeth. Daily flossing removes food debris and plaque between the teeth as well as prevents plaque from forming at the gum line. If plaque is left on the teeth it will eventually harden into tartar. Tartar can only be removed through a professional cleaning. Plaque and tartar build up can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

Add flossing to your daily dental routine to prevent disease and enjoy better dental health. It's never too late to start.

YouTube/YourDentalHealth: Why Should I Floss? Dr. Bruce Ward demonstrates the benefits of daily flossing

Flossing tips:

  • While flossing before bedtime is preferred, the most important thing you can do is to floss at least once a day. Find a time that works for you and that you can maintain as part of your daily routine.
  • Your gums may bleed when you first start to floss. It may take a few days but with regular flossing this should stop. If bleeding persists after a week or two, speak to your dentist.
  • Be gentle. Gently move the floss between and around your teeth to avoid damaging your gums.
  • Floss between all your teeth and behind your back teeth.
  • Ask your dentist for flossing tips and talk to your dentist about the different flossing options available such as a floss holders, dental tape, water flossers or interproximal brushes.

Download Brushing and Flossing Tips (PDF) (also available in Arabic).

Video: How to Floss