To Floss or Not to Floss? Tips for a Healthy Mouth

Recent reports have questioned the benefits of certain routine oral health practices, such as flossing. According to the national’s SmileIndex™ Survey, many misconceptions exist about what is and is not healthy for one’s teeth and gums.

“Having good dental hygiene is the best way to maintain a healthy mouth and smile,” said Bill Chase, vice president of marketing for “It is important to understand how to properly care for teeth and gums, otherwise you may be doing more harm than good.”

Tips for healthy smiles:

Be gentle: Brushing teeth roughly can weaken enamel, causing cavities, tooth decay and gum disease. Use a soft brush, and take it easy.

Brush Properly: Hold the brush is at a 45° angle against the gum line and sweep the brush up and away from your gums.

Floss: From dental hygienists and dentists to the Department of Health and Human Services to the American Dental Association have, for decades, recommended daily flossing to keep mouths and teeth healthy. But a recent report from the Associated Press (AP) indicated that there may be no medical benefits associated with flossing. Regardless, removing food debris and bacteria caught between one’s teeth is helpful and recommended until truly proven ineffective.

Go to the dentist: Removing tartar is not something that can be done at home, without risking the chance of causing dental damage. Dental hygienists are trained to remove tartar that causes decay and gum infections safely.

Do not wait: People tend to pay out of pocket as dental problems arise, waiting until a costly dental crisis occurs before purchasing a plan. And, dental insurance imposes waiting periods, sometimes of six months to a year, before coverage for expensive dental treatments kicks in. Dental savings plans, an alternative to traditional dental insurance, make dental care more affordable, saving members 10%-60% on most dental care procedures. Learn more at