Have you heard? Recent reports have generated a lot of doubt about the benefits of flossing. But facts and patient history still support the use of an interdental cleaner. In an August 2016 statement, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reaffirmed flossing as “an important oral hygiene practice.” The ADA also stated that flossing daily is “essential in taking care of your teeth and gums.”
Benefits of Flossing
Maintaining good oral health includes brushing for two minutes, twice a day, cleaning between your teeth once a day with an interdental cleaner (floss) and regular visits to your dentist twice a year. Taking this kind of care of your teeth is important because plaque that is not removed with daily brushing and flossing will harden into calculus or tartar. Read our blog post, How to Brush and Floss Effectively for a Winning Smile for more information.
The two main benefits of flossing which should encourage you to make it a daily habit are:
- It disrupts and removes plaque.
- It helps to prevent gum disease and cavities.
Should you floss before or after you brush your teeth?
Flossing before you brush isn’t necessarily the “best” time to brush your teeth, but neither is flossing after you brush your teeth. The most important thing about flossing is flossing – daily! As long as you do a thorough job, it doesn’t matter whether you brush before or after flossing. Just pick a time of day that works best for you and do it.
How old should you be when you start flossing?
And don’t forget, little ones need to clean between their teeth, too! Start flossing your child’s teeth as soon as they have two teeth that touch. Yes, Mom and Dad, you must floss your children’s teeth until they are able to do a thorough job on their own at age 10 or 11. Flossing requires more manual dexterity than young children have.
Will flossing hurt your gums?
Flossing between your teeth should not be painful. Vigorous flossing could damage the tissue between your teeth. But if you’re too gentle, you might not disrupt or remove plaque that will eventually cause gum disease and cavities. You may feel some discomfort if you haven’t been flossing daily, but don’t give up. Any discomfort you might feel should ease 7 to 14 days with daily brushing and flossing. If pain persists, talk to Dr. Davis.
Is one flossing option more beneficial than others?
Today there are lots of flossing options to choose from.
- Dental floss (waxed, unwaxed, thick, comfort)
- Dental picks
- Pre-threaded flossers
- Tiny brushes that brush between teeth
- Water flosser
- Wooden plaque remover
Ask Dr. Davis which dental care products will be most effective for you. He will instruct you on how to properly use the option(s) he recommends to avoid injuring your gums. 5 Steps to a Flawless Floss explains the right way to do it. There’s even a pdf step-by-step guide to download.
Cleaning between your teeth with floss and other interdental tools every day is important to maintain good oral hygiene. Stick with it. You’ll develop a healthy habit and enjoy the benefits of flossing for life. Call Davis Dental Monday through Thursday between 8:00am and 5:00pm at (307) 634-3488 today to schedule an appointment. We’d be happy to recommend the best flossing option for your dental care.