Do We Really Need To Floss?

Written by Dr. Reuben Sim
Published: 22-01-2022

As a dental professional, we get asked a lot of times whether flossing is important, or whether we really need to floss. Now, do you really need to brush your teeth? It’s just one of those things where you don’t have to, but you should, because if you don’t brush your teeth, bad things happen to your teeth.


Now, flossing is exactly the same. So, remember this. A tooth is like box. You’ve got the top, the sides, and in between your teeth. When you’re brushing your teeth, you’re brushing just the top part, the cheek, and the tongue side, but it can’t physically brush anything in between. So, if you can’t brush stuff in between, it’s going to fill with crap and bacteria, and if you don’t floss, they will start building more and more, and that’s where you get potentially gum disease or tooth decay.

Now, imagine moving a fridge. So, when you’ve got a fridge, and if you clean the fridge from time to time, but once you move the fridge, you look at the back, and you see all the dust, and the cobwebs, and things like that. That’s disgusting! That’s what’s happening to your teeth in between. So, if you don’t floss, that will come in over time.

Of course that’s very dependent on diet, and what you eat, but as a general rule of thumb, things accumulate in areas where you don’t clean. So, flossing comes in a few ways. You can buy a string and you can floss them, but it can be quite tricky, because you’ve got to be manual. Manual dexterity is very important, because you’ve got to reach to the back and floss it up. There are ways around it. One of them would be to get a floss with a handle, a disposable one. You can floss it and throw it away.

Or you can get a water jet. Water picks, we call them. So you get a machine, and you squirt water out in a bit of pressure, and it cleans stuff in between the teeth, and that can work as well. But it’s quite dependent on the amount of gums you have, or how tight the teeth are against one another or the position of the gums.

To pick the right product for you, you need professional guidance, because if you find flossing a chore or cumbersome, and you don’t like doing it, speak to your dental professional and they might find ways, or maybe, hopefully, exciting ways to get you flossing, because flossing can actually help you quite a bit.

So, hopefully that answers your question, you don’t have to floss, but ideally you have to. It’s like if you drive a car, legally you have to wear a seatbelt, but you don’t have to, but you’d be very thankful that if you’ve got a seatbelt on and you get in an accident, you will be very thankful you’ve got a seatbelt on. So, that’s what flossing is. It saves you from future issues down the track, potentially. So, cue flossing.