To floss or not to floss?


lizIt’s a question we at The Smile Spa get asked a lot! So we put the question to our Hygienist Lizbeth Paynter. Here is what she said…






I do get this question from patients a lot, and really there is no doubt as to the answer…

Flossing is one of the forms of interdental care that is essential to your daily oral hygiene routine.

What is floss?

Floss is a long strand of nylon filament or plastic monofilaments which may be treated with a flavouring agent to make it a more pleasant experience. Floss comes in waxed or un-waxed versions.

What does floss do?

It is very important to use a form of interdental cleaner as toothbrushes alone cannot clean effectively between tighter interdental spaces.

Floss removes debris from between the teeth and removes plaque bacteria to prevent plaque developing into a harder substance called tartar. If the plaque is not removed from the spaces between your teeth an infection called gingivitis can form. This is when the gingival tissues become red, swollen and sometimes bleed.

When is the best time to floss?

It is recommended that you brush twice a day and clean between teeth once a day with floss or another suitable interdental cleaner.

You can floss before or after brushing, (which ever you prefer) the import thing is that you do a thorough job.

Floss is just one of the tools that can be used, other tools include; water picks, interdental brushes, plastic or wooden sticks. Your dental professional can discuss the options with you as everyone has different needs depending upon their tooth anatomy and personal preference.

How do I floss?

This short video will show you how to use floss correctly.


  1. Make sure you use enough dental floss. Break off a piece about 18 inches long. Wrap most of the dental floss around either the middle finger or the index finger of one hand, whichever you prefer, and a small amount onto the middle or index finger of the other hand. (Using the middle finger leaves your index finger free to manipulate the floss.)
  2. Gently slide the dental floss between the teeth in a zigzag motion and be careful not to let the floss snap or “pop” between your teeth.
  3. Make a C shape with the dental floss as you wrap it around the tooth. Then carefully pull the floss upward from the gum line to the top of the tooth.As you move from one tooth to the next, unroll a fresh section of dental floss from the finger of one hand while rolling the used floss onto the finger of the other hand. Use your thumb as a guide.
  4. Don’t forget to floss the back side of each tooth.

We hope that answers your question about floss, keep checking our blog for regular posts from our team. If you have any dental questions you would like answering in a blog, please email us at