With dental care in general, prevention is always better than cure.


And this is where maintaining good dental hygiene at home comes into play. While many people brush their teeth twice a day and refrain from drinking or eating too many sugary items, they are overlooking the benefits of some additional dental hygiene treatments which can be performed in their own homes.

In this instance, we are talking about flossing!

At Deakin Dental, our dentist Canberra is a big advocate of flossing alongside using a mouthwash as a simple way to reduce the occurrence of gum disease and cavities.

But many patients are uneasy when it comes to flossing and may have seen articles online that state it can damage the gums or cause issues with enamel. But rest assured, our dentist Canberra states that not only is flossing safe, but it is also necessary to maintain good oral health and in this article, we explore flossing in more depth.

What is flossing; where did it come from?

The first question that many patients ask our dentist Canberra is what is flossing and where did it come from?

Flossing itself dates back to 1815 when silken dental floss was given to dental patients by a New Orleans dentist called Dr Levi Parmley. The idea was to use a thin thread to get to those hard-to-reach areas between teeth, particularly molars, to remove plaque that may be missed by the traditional toothbrush.

And over 200 years later it seems that Dr Parmley was on to something!

How do you floss?

Many patients have concerns when it comes to flossing, as the thread itself can be hard and if used incorrectly, it can cut the gums.

But using floss effectively is a quickly learned skill and it is advised that you use about 30 cm of floss per flossing session and simply manoeuvre it in between your teeth and use an upward and downward motion, gently removing the plaque. Try to avoid rubbing floss against the gums as this will cause bleeding and can be tricky to avoid when getting to the teeth at the back of your mouth.

You will be surprised at how much food is trapped between your teeth when you start to floss properly!

Interdental brushes

In recent years, there has been an increase in the use of interdental brushes, which offer a benefit similar to traditional flossing.

You simply brush in between your teeth with the interdental brush as you would a toothbrush and plaque and bacteria are removed. A key advantage is that you can bend the interdental brushes to go around your teeth rather than simply in between them. If you wear metal braces, interdental brushes can be a real boost to your dental hygiene!

Advantages of flossing

The advantages of flossing are simple; it removes plaque from hard-to-reach places and in turn, reduces the risk of gum disease, tooth decay and keeps your teeth healthy.

Not only that, but by removing plaque from these particular areas, you are reducing your chances of developing serious complications linked to cardiovascular disease which can occur if there is too much plaque in the mouth.


All treatment carries risks. Individual consultation is required with one of our practitioners to ensure that the treatment is right for you.