Floss Article Controversy

Barbara Tritz
· September 4, 2016 ·

4 minutes

Folks are asking me about flossing!  Yippee!!!  The article that came out in August is probably the best thing that ever happened to dental floss and oral health!  People are finally talking floss, and want my opinion.  So, here it is!

To Floss or not to Floss? That is the Question!

If you’re a flosser, please don’t stop.  It does work to remove that plaque biofilm I always talk about.
Click here to see it live and in person!  If that doesn’t get you to floss, nothing will!  Most people don’t floss, so they think this article gives them an excuse to continue “not flossing”.  Come on people, there’s plaque and bacteria and fungus and other bad nasties lurking under your gumline, infecting your body.  They are silently and sometimes not so silently causing destruction of your teeth and gums.  Do you really want to let them party like it’s 1999?

 The problem with floss and flossing technique is folks don’t know:


  • how to do it correctly
  • why exactly they are doing it
  • they are using floss that slides right over the plaque, leaving most of it intact.

Those are the real problems when it comes to floss!  Of course the research will show floss is not very effective if you don’t do it correctly with tools that actually work.  Flossing is not only about removing food debris, it’s even more important to remove the bacterial plaque biofilm.  To do that you need to use a floss that doesn’t slide right over that sticky gooey mat of bacterial crud.  Sorry Glide floss lovers, but that’s what your floss does.  Glide leaves over 50% of the plaque mat behind.  I did my own research study by staining a patient’s plaque, and using three kinds of floss: Glide, Listerine Total Gum Care and Listerine Gentle Gum Care (woven).  It showed me which floss worked most effectively.  Do it yourself and see what you leave behind.  Let me know which works best for you!

Proper flossing technique is vital to total plaque removal.  If you don’t do it right, no matter what floss you use, it won’t get all the plaque biofilm off.  It’s so important to floss correctly.  There are plenty of YouTube tutorial videos, as well as your best resource – your dental hygienist.  He or she will be down right giddy showing you proper flossing skills.  Just ask 😉 it’ll make their day, I promise!

But, in case inquiring minds want to know right now:

  •   wrap the floss tightly around your middle fingers 
  •   use your index fingers or thumbs and guide the floss between the teeth
  •   pull the floss like the letter “C” around one tooth
  •   gently shimmy down the side of the tooth
    •   (and here’s the most important part!)
  •   glide it under the gumline as far as you can comfortably go, pulling taut
    •   (and here’s the next most important part!)
  •   RUB the side of the tooth up and down, going under the gumline TEN TIMES!  Until that floss/tooth squeaks
  •   slide out, go to a clean piece of floss and shimmy back in and
  •   repeat on the side of the tooth next door.
Summer in Portugal & of course I brought floss

Summer in Portugal & of course I brought floss!

The things I hear most often from folks: they shred floss, their teeth are so tight together they can’t floss and (my fav) it makes their gums hurt.
If you shred floss let your dentist know.  There may be broken fillings that need TLC.
If your teeth are “too tight”, let your hygienist know.  They can show you how to slide that floss or something else in between.  I very rarely have problems with too tight teeth. We can fix it, if that’s really the problem.
If your gums hurt or bleed while you floss, that’s a flashing neon sign that your gums need help getting healthy.  Ask!

In addition to my woven floss, I also personally use other things like Piksters, baking soda, bleach water, Perio Science gel, Evorapro probiotics and Perio Protect Trays to kill the bacteria and fungus associated with gum disease/tooth decay (just not all at once).  More details coming on that too!  There are so many tools in addition to floss.  It’s not just brush and floss any more.

And, no, it does not take me 10 minutes to floss.  About two minutes tops.  Am I ever going to stop flossing even though the research is “weak”?  NO chance.  I floss like my life depends on it, because it does.  There are so many systemic disease connections between gum inflammation and the rest of the body.  Check out this post for starters.  I have a post ready to go that’ll update you on all the new research for the latest oral/systemic connections.  Scary stuff!

Bottom line: no excuses, ya still gotta clean IN BETWEEN the teeth.  That’s where the germs live that cause dental diseases like tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath!  How you get ’em outta there is up to you.  Not cleaning “in between” is like taking a shower with your shoes on.  Your toes might get wet, but they’ll never get clean, no matter how wet they get.  Get in there and take care of your oral health and wellness!

I love having folks ask about flossing since it gives me the opportunity to spread the word:
                           Yes, still floss, and then really clean in between!  Your life depends on it!

Happy Labor Day!

Keep Smiling,

Thoughts? Suggestions? Comments??  I love knowing someone’s reading this.  Leave me a comment on the right!  I read every one!


Hello, I'm Barbara Tritz

Unveiling the Stories Behind Dental Hygiene

Loving science, especially biology, from an early age, Barbara is a registered dental hygienist, certified biological hygienist, and orofacial myofunctional therapist. In 2019, she received the Hu-Friedy/ADHA Master Clinician Award from the American Dental Hygienist Association.

Share your thoughts below!


  1. Apu Mridha

    Thanks for sharing such an amazing and informative post. Really enjoyed reading it.

  2. Jenna

    I LOVE reading your blog, it is so informative. Thank you for all the energy, time and love you put into it. See you soon for my first cleaning. Xoxo.

  3. Barbara Tritz

    You absolutely made my day! Thank you for your very kind comments! It is a labor of love so I appreciate your reading and reaching out to let me know! I look forward to seeing you soon,
    Hugs to you!

  4. Evangeline Mitul

    I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.

  5. Barbara Tritz

    Thank you for your lovely comment! I am working on some future posts so stay tuned. I just returned from the American Orofacial Myofunctional Scientific Congress so have lots of new information to share about breathing, child development and proper tongue placement. Thanks for subscribing! I sure want to make it worth your time!

  6. Alessandra Landers

    I agree about flossing! I went to see the dentist recently and she told me had it not been for my flossing, my teeth would be in bad shape. Two minutes a day is a small price to pay to have those teeth well into your later years, especially when the cost of teeth repair is ridiculous these days.


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