Flossing is one of the most important things you can do to maintain good oral hygiene. But how often should you do it? And is there a right way?
Why is Flossing Important?
The act of flossing removes food particles and bacteria that become trapped between your teeth when you eat and drink. Technically, the sticky bacteria is called plaque. If it isn’t removed on a regular basis, it hardens into tartar which is difficult to remove. Additionally, plaque and tartar can eat into your tooth enamel, causing cavities, tooth decay and potentially gum disease. If decay occurs, you’ll most certainly need a filling. If the decay goes untreated, you could require a crown, root canal or dental implant.
It’s important for both adults and children to floss. As soon as your child has two teeth that touch together, begin flossing. You’ll have to do it for your child since young kids simply can’t floss well themselves. Children usually need to be 10 or 11 before they can properly floss their own teeth.
When Should You Floss?
The American Dental Association says to floss your teeth at least once a day to remove plaque your toothbrush simply can’t reach. And while there are many opinions about when you should floss, the timing doesn’t really matter as long as you’re flossing thoroughly.
Our dentists at Klement Family Dental recommend you select a time of day when you can devote a little extra time to your oral hygiene. If you’re too tired to floss before bed, then do it in the morning. If you’re always rushed in the morning, spend five extra minutes at bedtime to floss your teeth.
How Should You Floss?
If you’re using regular floss, pull a strand that’s about a foot long. Use a sawing motion to thread the floss between your teeth. Next, curve the floss into a C-shape to remove food particles along the gum line. Repeat for your other teeth on the top and bottom. After flossing and brushing, always rinse your mouth to remove stray food particles.
It’s important to remember that flossing shouldn’t be painful. It’s normal to feel some discomfort when you start flossing, but it should dissipate with regular flossing and routine cleanings. However, if pain persists, talk to your dentist or dental hygienist during your next routine exam.
What Kind of Floss Should You Use?
There are plenty of options for cleaning between your teeth. Traditional waxed dental floss works great as do dental picks, pre-threaded flossers, unwaxed floss, water flossers or wooden plaque removers. Regardless of the type you select, it’s important to use the device properly. If you have questions about how to use floss or a similar product, please get in touch with our office at 727-498-1959. Our dentists and Hygienists in St. Petersburg, FL love to help patients learn proper oral care techniques.
Be certain to purchase products that bear the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance. This ensures your oral care products have been tested for safety and effectiveness.