Despite the American Dental Association’s recommendation to floss on a daily basis, nearly 31% of Americans confess they don’t get the job done. This makes it common for patients to want to avoid the flossing topic altogether when they visit the dentist. If you are left with some uncertainties or questions about flossing, we want to answer them. The more you know about this dental hygiene task, the more you’ll want to make it a priority every single day.
Here are some FAQs when it comes to flossing your teeth:
Why do I need to floss?
Your toothbrush simply can’t reach every surface of your tooth. In fact, up to 35% of your tooth is neglected if you don’t floss. Flossing is designed to remove plaque, bacteria and food debris from tight spaces in between your teeth. Left alone, these substances can create cavities and foster gum disease. Flossing is a powerful weapon to protect your smile and your wallet!
I don’t like using traditional floss; what are my options?
There are countless flossing products on the market today, including threaded floss, water flossers and interdental cleaners. You can even pick a flavored floss or opt for a handheld flosser for easy coordination. There is no right or wrong product. Invest in the option that helps you actually floss.
Should I floss first or brush first?
Either is fine – just remember that they both need to get done. Some dentists suggest flossing first so that your toothbrush can eliminate the dislodged debris.
What time of day should I floss?
This is a matter of personal preference. The ADA recommends flossing at least once each day. The majority of patients like to get their teeth the cleanest right before bed, which means making flossing a part of their nighttime routine.
I rinse my toothbrush and use it again, so can I do the same with floss?
Unfortunately, when it comes to dental floss, it’s best not to reuse it. Whether your flossing thread is waxed or unwaxed, it can still harbor bacteria from each flossing session.
Can my dentist tell if I haven’t been flossing?
This is the real question patients want to ask. In many cases, yes, your dentist can tell if you’ve neglected to floss. Your gums will bleed easily or show signs of inflammation (redness or puffiness). In addition, the hardened plaque that builds up between your teeth is a clear sign you’ve allowed this harmful substance to sit on your teeth for a prolonged period of time. In the first 24 hours, plaque is normally a thin, sticky film that is easily removed.
Have more questions about flossing? Don’t be embarrassed to ask. Contact Avalon Dental Group for tips on how to keep your smile looking and feeling its best. If you aren’t flossing regularly, consider adopting the habit for healthier teeth and gums.