Ever since we were kids being taught to brush our teeth twice a day by our parents, we’ve learned that health starts in the mouth.
With that in mind, you’ll know that flossing is a key part of dental health!
However, you may have heard old wives’ tales or misguided advice that flossing actually creates gaps in your teeth and so should be avoided.
Well, does flossing create gaps in teeth?
The answer is thankfully no! In this article, we’ll dive into the weeds of this old myth and cover important details like:
- What this myth actually says
- Why it’s not true
- The importance of oral health
- Our recommendations for the best tools for oral health.
And plenty more!
The Myth Behind Flossing Teeth Gaps
You only get one set of adult teeth, so you need to look after them!
Oral (and particularly dental) health can be a major influence on our overall well-being throughout our lives – so the better care we take of our mouths, the better care we take of ourselves.
Studies suggest that oral bacteria and the inflammation associated with a severe form of gum disease (periodontitis) might play a role in some systemic diseases.
However, this idea that flossing creates gaps between teeth is one that you’ve almost certainly heard before.
Where did it come from?
Well, it’s hard to say for sure, but it could rise from one of the key things everyone notices once they start flossing: that it gets easier.
As you continue to floss, you’ll remove the plaque and clean the enamel between your teeth, as well as dislodging any caught debris.
You’ll also find that you get used to the feeling of flossing, and after about a week of flossing, you’ll find that if your gums ever bled from flossing – they’ll stop.
This newfound ease of flossing may lead some to believe that the space between their teeth is widening, and that’s what makes flossing so much easier after time.
Of course, by understanding the fact that flossing gets easier the more you do it (and the fact that the reasons it gets easier are tied to the positive impacts flossing has on dental health), you can see how flossing (followed by brushing with an effective toothbrush like a Boka electric toothbrush) improves your dental health rather than creating gaps!
Therefore, it’s important to remember that even though other people may genuinely believe that flossing creates gaps between your teeth, there is simply no evidence of this.
Instead, we stand to see huge gains in dental health, and studies have proven that up to 80% of dental plaque can be removed at home through flossing or other interdental devices.
Flossing between your teeth at least once a day can help get rid of hidden food particles and plaque buildup, lower your risk of tooth decay and cavities, and reduce the chances of bad breath.
Flossing daily is a recommended part of dental care, and you would do well to forge ahead with flossing. As they say: you don’t need to floss between all of your teeth – just the ones you want to keep!
Why is Flossing Good for Dental Hygiene?
The real causes of gaps between teeth are all the sorts of things that flossing can help deal with.
Plaque and bacteria buildup can damage the enamel on your teeth, and there’s no better place for bacteria to get trapped than in the tight spaces between your teeth.
The bacteria between your teeth release acids, meaning that eventually they will burn through your tooth enamel and cause cavities to form.
Cavities destroy your teeth, leading to tooth pain, bad breath, bleeding gums, and eventually requiring fillings or extractions.
According to a large 2019 study, participants who adhered to a high standard of oral hygiene had a decreased risk of atrial fibrillation and heart failure.
Regular toothbrushing helps combat the effects of plaque buildup by removing debris from a day’s worth of eating.
To get the best out of brushing your teeth, a good quality electric toothbrush is recommended.
The vibrations of electric toothbrushes do a lot more to dislodge food debris than manual brushing, and they do it without you resorting to brushing too harshly which can cause its own damage to gums and teeth.
Even the best toothbrush, however, isn’t going to be able to get between all of your teeth to remove all the debris, bacteria, and plaque that causes damage.
This debris also prevents the bristles of the toothbrush from cleaning between teeth and stops toothpaste from getting in there and doing its important job.
Therefore, we need something to get between the teeth – something like dental floss – in order to ensure a well-rounded clean.
At a glance
Dental flossing is important for:
- Maintaining healthy gums
- Cleaning teeth to prevent bad breath
- Removing plaque
- Cleaning bacteria to prevent holes from forming.
Proper flossing techniques
Proper flossing is essential if you want to enjoy all the benefits that flossing brings. To make it simple, here’s a step-by-step approach to proper flossing technique:
Choose the Right Type of Floss:
Dental floss comes in various types, such as waxed or unwaxed, flavored or unflavored. Choose the one that you find most comfortable to use!
Use Enough Floss:
Cut a piece of floss about 18 inches long. This allows you to use a clean section of floss between each tooth.
Wrap the Ends:
Wind the floss around the middle fingers of each hand, leaving about 1-2 inches of floss between your hands.
Hold the Floss Properly:
Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers, leaving about an inch of floss to work with.
Guide with Thumb and Forefinger:
Use your thumb and forefinger to guide the floss between your teeth. Be gentle to avoid damaging your gums.
Glide, Don’t Snap:
Gently slide the floss between your teeth using a back-and-forth motion rather than snapping it down. This helps to prevent injury to the gums.
Curve Around Each Tooth:
Form a C-shape with the floss as you wrap it around the tooth. This ensures that you reach below the gumline.
Clean Both Sides of Each Tooth:
Rub the floss up and down against the sides of each tooth, making sure to clean both teeth.
Use a Fresh Section for Each Tooth:
Switch to a new section of floss for each tooth to avoid transferring bacteria from tooth to tooth.
Be Thorough but Gentle:
Take your time and be thorough, but avoid being too forceful to prevent bleeding or damage to the gums. If your gums do bleed, they should stop bleeding after about a week of regular flossing.
Reach the Back Teeth:
Don’t forget to floss the back teeth, including the molars. Use your bathroom mirror to help you see and reach those areas.
Rinse Your Mouth:
After flossing, rinse your mouth with water to remove dislodged particles and plaque.
Brush Your Teeth
We recommend brushing your teeth after you floss to ensure that your toothpaste can act on all of your teeth.
Far from creating gaps in your teeth, flossing is a key part of good and comprehensive dental health!
If you don’t already, we strongly recommend you start flossing. Your teeth (and overall health) will thank you for it.