Ask the Doctors

Ask the Doctors

Dear Doctor,

Is it really necessary to floss? I see all these foreign adverts, i want to be sure i am doing something right. Most of the elderly where i am from lose their teeth.



A toothbrush cleans the tops and sides of your teeth. Dental floss cleans between them. Some people use tooth picks but floss is the best choice.  Many people just don’t spend enough time flossing and many have never been taught to floss properly. When you visit your dentist or hygienist, ask to be shown.

There are many benefits to regularly flossing your teeth. Dental floss can help clear food debris and plaque from the spaces between your teeth, where your toothbrush can’t reach. As a result, flossing helps prevent gum or periodontal diseases, tooth decay, and bad breath.

There are certain things to keep in mind to get the most out of flossing:

  • Use dental floss or an interdental cleaner every day.
  • Floss at least once a day.
  • Be gentle when using dental floss so you avoid damaging gum tissue.
  • If long threads of regular dental floss are too hard for you to hold, use a floss holder.


Both waxed and unwaxed dental floss work well to clean the spaces between your teeth. If the spaces are tight, waxed floss may glide more easily between them. The bottom line is that flossing every day is more important to your  than which floss you choose.

Any floss that slips easily between teeth without hurting and damaging the gums is the floss for you. Ask your dentist for a recommendation. Some have samples you can try. Waxed, unwaxed, high-tech teflon types, nylon types? Just use it!”

A floss holder or other interdental cleaning tool may be helpful if you have trouble handling long pieces of floss due to arthritis, vision difficulties, or discomfort, but you must follow instructions or ask your dentist how to use them properly so you don’t hurt your gums.

- Dr Abisola Ojo

Choice Dental

1378D Karimu Kotun,

Victoria Island, Lagos

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Written by StayHealthWise

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