Flossing is still essential.

How patients can continue to benefit from flossing.

Does flossing really make a difference?

Along with brushing and using an essential oil-containing mouthrinse, flossing is an essential part of a daily oral health routine, and is recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA).1

Are your patients flossing regularly? The truth is:

This lack of compliance tends to stem from patients either lacking motivation, having difficulty using floss, or not knowing the proper flossing technique. That said, the importance of emphasizing flossing to your patients can't be understated.3,4

In fact, results from the Sharma et al study showed that when patients incorporated flossing into their daily routine, it resulted in a reduction in both plaque and gingivitis compared to brushing alone5:

Reduction in plaque and gingivitis when adding floss to brushing

Help your patients to floss regularly and correctly.

You should be teaching your patients the correct flossing technique6:

  • Clean between each tooth, making a "C" shape with the floss
  • Gently slide floss in between teeth and gums
  • Don’t forget back teeth

Tips to help all of your patients start and maintain a flossing routine.

Whether your patients currently never floss or only floss from time to time, pass on these tips to help them form good oral hygiene habits.


  • Start with modest goals—once or twice a week6
  • Build towards every day—at least once-a-day flossing6
  • Start with one tooth—go tooth-by-tooth until flossing their entire mouth7,8
  • Floss wherever and whenever—in the shower, watching TV, listening to music…9
  • Whatever works for them—as long as they start to floss1


  • Make it a routine—floss at the same time each day9
  • Make it a mealtime ritual—along with brushing as a part of a morning (and/or evening) oral care routine9
  • Keep floss handy—by their toothbrush, in their purse/pocket, desk drawer, etc6,9
  • Use visual reminders—establish helpful clues to remember to floss6,9


  • Find a floss that works best for them; flavored floss may take the experience more enjoyable for some, while waxed floss or flossing devices may make it easier for others9
  • For children, establish a reward system; offering small prizes like stickers can be an ideal way to motivate them to floss6
  • Record accomplishments; crossing off every day they floss on a calendar is a good way to do this. The visual of a string of uninterrupted days can provide motivation to stick with flossing9
  • Remember that flossing should not be painful; but if it is, to stick with it for a while as discomfort should ease within 1-2 week1

Different flosses for different needs.

The LISTERINE® Brand offers a product to meet the varying needs of virtually any type of patient who requires plaque removal.

For patients who have tight contacts and dental work:


  • Stretches, flexes, and resists shredding between tight contacts and dental work
  • Patented, MICRO-GROOVES® Technology—provides greater plaque removal for superior cleaning.
  • Easy sliding that glides over dental work, plus superior clean
  • Substrate: Mono-filament extruded as single filament with ribs, which increase surface area. Ribbed MICRO-GROOVES® grip and clean like a squeegee

To see the MICRO-GROOVES®Technology in action, click here

For patients who want a cleaner, fresh-breath feeling:


  • Removes up to 61% more plaque vs Glide® Mint Floss12
  • Designed with extra flavor for clean, fresh-breath feeling
  • Waxed coating improves sliding, plus shred-resistant, soft, and flexible
  • Substrate: Patented substrate—Air-entangled multi-filament interlaces hundreds of straight fibers to create a web that helps trap particles

For patients with limited manual dexterity and first-time users:


  • Gets to 100% of hard-to-reach places12
  • Patented flosser handle and flosser head design, plus non-slip grip
  • Long, ergonomic handle makes flossing as easy as brushing
  • Substrate: Strong, high-tenacity yarn withstands breakage

You can recommend LISTERINE® Brand flosses to your patients with confidence, knowing they provide superior plaque removal and cleaning.

What we've learned:

1. What percentage of patients floss regularly and effectively?
    a.) 10%
    b.) 20%
    c.) 30%
    d.) 40%

2. Which of the following would be a good tip for someone who is currently not flossing at all?
    a.) Start with a goal of flossing once or twice a week
    b.) Establish a reward system for yourself
    c.) Floss wherever and whenever
    d.) All of the above

3. Which types of floss would you recommend to patients with sensitive gums?

4. LISTERINE® ULTRA CLEAN® FLOSS grabs up to _____more plaque than Glide® Mint Floss.
    a.) 1.3x
    b.) 1.5x
    c.) 1.7x
    d.) 2x

Answers:  1. a; 2. d; 3. a; 4. d.


Learn more about the benefits of available LISTERINE® flosses.

Flossing is still essential footnotes

References: 1. Flossing. American Dental Association Website. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/f/flossing. Accessed August 11, 2016. 2. Bader HI. Floss or die: implications for dental professionals. Dent Today, 1998;17(7):76-82. 3. Asadoorian J. Oral rinsing: Canadian Dental Hygienists Association Position Statement. CDHA position paper on commercially available over-the-counter oral rinsing products. CJDH. 2006;40(4):1-13. 4. Sambunjak D, Nickerson J, Poklepovic T, et al. Flossing for the management of periodontal diseases and dental caries in adults. Cochrane Database Syst. Rev. 7(12):CD 008829, doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD008829.pub2. 5. Sharma N, Charles CH, Lynch MC, et al. Adjunctive benefit of an essential oil-containing mouthrinse in reducing plaque and gingivitis in patients who brush and floss regularly : a six-month study. J Am Dent Assoc. 2004;135(4):496-504. 6. Burhenne M. The psychology of flossing, PsychCentral Website, http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/02/25/the-psychology-of-flossing, Updated February 25, 2013. Accessed August 11, 2016. 7. Baer D. The secret to changing your habits: start incredibly small. Fast Company Website, http://www.fastcompany.com/3022830/how-to-be-a-success-at-everything/the-secret-to-changing-your-habits-start-incredibly-small. Updated December 5, 2013. Accessed August 11 2016. 8. Babauta L. The tiny guide to creating the flossing habit. Zen Habits Website, http://zenhabits.net/floss, Accessed August 11, 2016. 9. Start a new habit-flossing! Delta Dental Website. http://www.deltadentalid.com/docs/files/Flossophy-habit.pdf. Accessed August 11, 2016. 10. Morris A, Santos S, Sinatra K, et al. Plaque removal of a revolutionary monofilament floss with flexible MICRO-GROOVES® Technology. J Dent Res. Abstract 1574. 2009:88(Spec Iss A). 11. Charles CA, Vair LH, Queiroz D, et al. Comparing consumer acceptance and perceived benefits of two floss technologies. J Dent Hyg. 2009;83(4):222. 12. Data on file, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc.