Is it Actually that Important to Floss?
From a young age, we are told to brush your teeth every day and hopefully twice a day. It is common knowledge that we need to brush our teeth in order to maintain good oral health. For whatever reason, flossing our teeth daily does not hold the same level of importance with the every person. Maybe it is harder to include into our routine, or maybe we don’t see as many commercials for floss as we do toothpaste. But by flossing just once a day, you can significantly decrease your risk of gum disease and increase the odds of achieving and maintaining good oral health.
A good toothbrush and the right toothpaste can clean the majority of the tooth’s surface area, but only flossing can clean in between the teeth where the toothbrush can’t reach. A water pick can be a good adjunct, but despite what the commercials tell you, they cant replace traditional floss. Dental floss will help to remove debris, plaque and bacteria that remain on the teeth and gums. Removal of this additional debris can also aid in controlling bad breath.
Flossing should only take you between two and three minutes to complete and should be done at least once daily. If you have lots of fillings, crowns, or other food traps, you may need to floss after each meal. The ideal time to floss is right before bed, but any way you can incorporate it into your routine should work. The idea is to find a time that is convenient for you so you won’t forget.
There are a wide variety of flosses available, and in general they do a similar job or removing debris and plaque. Wide floss (dental tape) works really well in cleaning large spaces and under bridges, while waxed floss works well between tight contacts. The pre-threaded flossers or floss holders can help when flossing someone else’s teeth or if you have difficulty reaching any spots in your own mouth. And if you have children, they should begin flossing as soon as they two or more teeth that touch.
While waterpicks are a good adjunct to help clean the teeth, they are not made to replace flossing. They can help to remove food from difficult areas and around braces, but they do not remove the plaque that remains in between the teeth. When in doubt about what type of floss to use in your particular case, be sure to contact your dentist or dental hygienist.