Flossing: The Unsung Hero of Oral Health Featuring Insights from Dr. Sukrit Grewal

Dr. Sukrit Grewal
Photo Courtesy: Dr. Sukrit Grewal

Brushing your teeth twice a day is a no-brainer for good oral hygiene, but there’s another step in the dental care routine that often gets skipped: flossing. Flossing is vital for removing plaque and food particles from between teeth where a toothbrush can’t reach. This seemingly small act can have a big impact on your overall dental health and is a practice that dental experts like Dr. Sukrit Grewal consider non-negotiable for maintaining a healthy smile.

The Importance of Flossing

Flossing does more than just clean between your teeth. Regular flossing can prevent gum disease, tooth decay, and can even save you from bad breath. When plaque is allowed to build up, it can harden into tartar, a calcified material that a toothbrush can’t remove. Tartar buildup can lead to gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease. As gingivitis progresses, it can turn into periodontitis, leading to the loss of teeth and bone in the jaw.

The Right Way to Floss

There is a proper technique to flossing that can maximize its effectiveness. Start with about 18 inches of floss, winding most of it around one of your middle fingers and the rest around the opposite middle finger. Hold the floss tautly between your thumbs and index fingers and gently slide it up and down between your teeth. Curve the floss around the base of each tooth, making sure you go beneath the gumline. Never snap or force the floss, as this can cause bruising or cuts to the gums. Use fresh sections of floss as you move from tooth to tooth for the best results.

Combating Flossing Myths

A common misconception is that if your gums bleed when you floss, you should stop. On the contrary, bleeding can indicate that your gums are inflamed from plaque buildup and need more attention. If the bleeding persists after a few days of flossing, however, it’s time to see a dentist. Dr. Sukrit Grewal emphasizes that bleeding gums can also be a sign of gingivitis or other gum diseases and should be evaluated by a professional.

When to Floss

The American Dental Association recommends flossing at least once a day. The timing isn’t crucial – it’s doing it daily that matters. Whether you floss in the morning, at night, or after lunch, the goal is to make it a regular part of your dental routine. Some prefer to floss before brushing to allow the fluoride from their toothpaste better access between the teeth.

Types of Floss

There are various types of dental floss available, and the best kind is the one that you will use every day. Standard floss is effective and comes in different flavors and coatings, like waxed or unwaxed. Those with wider spaces between their teeth or with braces may find dental tape or super floss more comfortable. For those who struggle with traditional floss, floss picks or water flossers are good alternatives and can be especially helpful for children or people with arthritis.

Flossing and Children

Introducing flossing to children is crucial for developing good oral hygiene habits early on. As soon as two teeth touch, they’re at risk for decay, and flossing can help prevent it. For kids, floss picks can make the task easier and more manageable. Making flossing a fun part of the routine can encourage them to make it a lifelong habit.

The Link Between Flossing and Overall Health

Flossing not only affects oral health but also has been linked to overall health. Poor oral hygiene is associated with several health issues, including heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory illness. Bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream through the gums, potentially leading to inflammation and disease elsewhere in the body.

Flossing as a Preventive Measure

Preventive care, including flossing, is less costly than restorative treatments. By investing a few minutes each day in flossing, you’re potentially saving hours in the dentist’s chair and significant amounts of money in dental bills. Prevention is key to maintaining not just oral health, but also financial well-being when it comes to dental care.


Flossing is an essential part of oral hygiene that goes hand in hand with brushing. It’s a simple practice that can prevent complex dental problems. Dr. Sukrit Grewal and dental professionals worldwide stand by the importance of flossing daily. By making flossing a non-negotiable part of your daily routine, you’re taking a significant step toward preserving your oral health and, by extension, your overall health. Remember, a clean mouth is not only a healthy mouth but also a gateway to a healthier you.

Published by: Nelly Chavez


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