Do I have to floss if I have diabetes?

Carol Jahn
If you have diabetes, you need to clean in between your teeth every day in addition to twice daily toothbrushing. If you find flossing difficult, and many people do, there are other products available that work as well as dental floss and may be easier for you to use. These include floss holders, interdental brushes, and a Water Flosser. A Water Flosser may be an especially good choice for people with diabetes. Not only has the Water Flosser been shown to be an effective alternative to floss, it has also been tested on people with diabetes and found to reduce bleeding by 44% and gingivitis by 41%, both signficantly higher than in people with diabetes who did not use the Water Flosser.
If you have teeth, you have to clean them with brush and floss, if you would like to keep them and the surrounding gums healthy. The brush alone will not clean between the teeth, no matter how hard you try. You must use floss, or other interproximal cleaning device recommended by your dentist, hygienist or dental assistant.

Flossing should be an important part of your oral hygiene regimen. It is an essential tool in helping to prevent decay and gum disease by removing plaque accumulation on the teeth. Diabetes can affect the health of the gums and diseased gums may also have an effect on control of diabetes. The American Dental Association states that “Treating gum disease in people with diabetes can help improve blood sugar control. Conversely, not taking care of the problem can make it more difficult to keep blood sugar levels under control. The resulting high blood sugar can cause problems with your eyes, nerves, kidneys, heart and other parts of your body.”

Under the circumstances flossing seems like a pretty good idea.
Flossing daily is part of a good oral health regimen that will help with good overall oral health. Flossing helps remove plaque from between your teeth, in areas that the toothbrush can't reach, and it helps prevent gum disease and dental decay.

If you have diabetes, you are at greater risk for gum disease and other oral health problems. It is especially important to maintain good oral hygiene.
Yes. If you're only brushing your teeth, that's only half the battle. Floss cleans where your toothbrush can't. Both the American Diabetes Association and the American Dental Association are in agreement that flossing should be a daily activity that improves and maintains the health of your teeth and gums and prevents more severe problems, such as gum disease. Flossing is the best thing you can do to remove food trapped in between your teeth where they meet the gum line. This is the notorious "food trap" area that needs to be routinely cleaned out.

To floss efficiently, you need to use about 18 inches of floss, loosely winding each end around your fingers on opposing hands. A gentle "sawing motion" is sufficient to get any food out. "Snapping" the floss is discouraged because this might damage your gums. Scraping the floss up and down against each tooth will help to get the plaque out. A little bleeding is expected. Simply rinse with water.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.