You may not like flossing, but your teeth need it!

Brushing your teeth daily is important for your oral health but you can’t forget about flossing. Although it seems tiresome and time-consuming, brushing your teeth only removes the food and plaque from visible surfaces. Adding flossing to your routine will allow you to clean areas the toothbrush can’t reach.

If you’re still not sold on starting to floss more often here are some pros and cons to it

Helps reduce cavities (Fig 1.) Annoying
Reduces bad breath Gross (for the first week)
Reduces your chances of gum disease Some bleeding (for the first week)

To keep it simple would you like to spend $5 or less on flossing to avoid having cavities, bad breath (halitosis) and gum disease or spend $132 or more on a cavity you could’ve prevented?

Teeth Flossing
Fig 1. Interproximal decay seen at almost every tooth contact.
There are so many types of flosses out there and it may seem overwhelming but when you come in for your next cleaning or appointment be sure to ask Dr. Samantha Chien and she can recommend the best one for you and our team is always ready to show you how to floss properly.

If you want some tips on flossing correctly continue reading below…

  1. Floss must be held taut and guided between each tooth and also under the gums to ensure that all food particles and plaque are removed. Hug the tooth with floss in a C-shape to mechanically rub the side of the tooth. However, be sure the floss doesn’t scrape too much on the gums or it could cause gum bleeding. It is possible for periodontal disease to only affect isolated areas of the mouth so it is important to have proper flossing technique to ensure that the infectious bacteria are not transmitted from one gingival pocket to the other.
  2. It is important to buy dental floss that’s the right thickness. Floss that’s too thick or thin won’t give you the best cleaning. It is normal to see bleeding if you have not been flossing regularly. It should stop after a week of regular flossing. Regular bleeding with flossing and brushing could mean something bigger and you should let your dentist know.
  3. Use dental floss every day BEFORE brushing, preferably before bedtime.

Most people have not given much thought to the proper order. But in 2017, researchers found that the amount of plaque between the teeth and in the mouth overall was significantly reduced when participants used the floss-brush approach. Also flossing first allows more plaque to be removed in between teeth and then the fluoride in toothpaste could get into the right places. The study also showed that fluoride, a natural mineral that’s proven to be effective in preventing tooth decay and the development of cavities, remained in the mouth at higher levels with the floss-brush approach.

If you are asking this question, it means you’re probably doing both and that what matters most! So whether you choose the brush-floss or floss-brush approach, we recommend that you stick with whatever works for you! But now you understand that beginning with flossing may be marginally better for you long term dental health.