Welcome back to our oral hygiene home care blog. Today at Hartwell Dentistry we will be talking about what is flossing, why should we floss and give you some helpful hints about flossing at home.


The concept of dental flossing is said to be created in 1819 by an American dentist named Dr Levi Spear Parmly. The dental floss was made from a silken thread and he encouraged all his dental patients to floss daily to clean between their teeth. Some researchers claim that they have found dental floss like thread between the teeth of ancient humans. The first patented dental floss was by the company Johnson and Johnson in 1898.

Why should I floss?

Flossing has become an important daily oral hygiene regime. Using floss between the teeth allows the removal of dental plaque, bacteria and trapped food. By leaving these irritants between the teeth any longer than 24 hours allows for the initial process of disease, irritation and inflammation of the gums (gum disease) as well as an opportunity for the decay process to begin.

Floss not only removes the irritants that cause disease but also allows air (oxygen) between the teeth creating a healthy environment that the bacteria that causes disease don’t like to live.

What are the benefits of flossing?

Daily flossing has a great impact on the health of your mouth (teeth and gums) as well as your systemic (whole body) health. There is proven links with such health conditions as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, dementia, lung disease and many more. The key factor with these links is gum inflammation and irritation by disease (bacteria). There are some studies from the USA that indicate that by flossing daily and eliminating the inflammation from the gums can increase life expectancy by 5 –10 years.

How do I floss?

Flossing is not the easiest task. At your dental hygiene visit at Hartwell Dentistry our hygienist can assist you with techniques, what type of floss to use and has many flossing aids to make flossing an easier task.

Here a few tips to make flossing easier for you:
  •  Take about 50cms of floss and wind the ends around the middle or index fingers 
  • Grip the floss firmly with the index finger & thumb 
  • Guide the floss between the teeth using a gentle sawing motion.
  • Gently scrape each tooth using an up and down motion but be careful not to snap the floss onto the gums.

So if you want to improve your general health as well as your oral health begin flossing every day. To assist with helping to make it part of your daily habit, link flossing to something else that you do every day that is already habit.