For as long as most of us can remember, we have been told by our dentists that flossing is the sure way to avoid that little monster, tooth decay. Combine it with correctly brushing your teeth and you’ll have a gleaming set of gnashers which are healthy and free from cavities.

But what’s this? Someone has now written a book debunking flossing as unnecessary. They have backed up their argument with bits and bobs of research which has apparently shown that flossing does no good whatsoever and certainly doesn’t avoid tooth decay. This seems quite shocking, considering that the vast majority of dental practices have been advising their patients to floss for years. So, have they all been getting it wrong?

Well, let’s have a closer look at what is being said. For a start flossing isn’t really an effective tool against dental decay. Flossing is advised by dentists the length and breadth of the country because it removes the particles of food which become wedged between the teeth and can prevent things like gum disease.

Avoiding Gum Disease

Removing the remains of your evening meal from around your teeth is effective in keeping plaque to a minimum. It is plaque which gives rise to gum disease and bad breath, as well as receding gums and loose teeth in a worst case scenario. However, to be effective, flossing has to be done correctly and it’s here where people fall down. They go through the motions of flossing after cleaning their teeth with a brush and toothpaste but don’t do it properly. Studies reveal that only about five per cent of the population even bother to floss and by not doing it properly they miss around 40 per cent of the surface of the tooth. This certainly doesn’t help the fight against gum disease and tooth decay.

Here’s How

So how do you floss correctly? For a start there are two types of floss on the market, nylon and PTFE. The difference here is that one is multifilament and the other monofilament. Take about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around your middle fingers. This will leave you with a couple of inches to use. Hold the floss taut between your thumbs and index fingers and slide it between the tight gap between the teeth. Be gentle! Now curve the floss gently around the base of the tooth, being sure to go under the gum line. Don’t force it as you could bruise or cut your gums. Use a clean section of floss for each tooth, gently following the curves of the tooth and using a backwards and forwards action to release the floss each time. Rinse your mouth and smile. Don’t believe the bunkum about not flossing.

Do it and reap the benefits

healthy teeth and gums and a happy dental surgeon who will congratulate you on your good practice. Of course one of the most important ways to protect your teeth is to ensure you have regular dental check-ups. If you live are looking for NHS Hull dentists, you can get your NHS subsidised treatment at the family-run East Hull Dental Centre.