When you go to the dentist, what do they ask you every time? You go in for a cleaning, hop in the chair, and when they get to work on your teeth, they ask, “How often do you floss?” Unfortunately for some, the answer is never. But this type of question can be concerning for those who floss regularly. You may ask yourself, “I floss my teeth every day. What am I doing wrong?!”
You may not be doing anything wrong at all; it’s part of a dentist’s responsibility to ask their patients questions about their dental hygiene routine. However, some other factors could contribute to you not flossing the way you should, some important ones being how and when you floss. Have you ever wondered if you should floss before or after brushing your teeth? We’re here to answer your questions and share some helpful information about flossing that you need to know to keep your gums healthy and pearly whites shining!
Why Should I Floss?
There are many benefits to flossing, so here are our top three reasons why flossing is so important!
#1: When you floss, you lower your risk of developing gum disease because there’s much less dental plaque in your mouth!
#2: Flossing helps keep your mouth as clean as possible! Although brushing removes plaque and debris, toothbrush bristles can’t particles lodged in the middle of your teeth to remove everything between them.
#3: Flossing helps to prevent cavities because you’re able to remove cavity-causing bacteria that may be lurking in hard-to-reach areas.
Here’s the thing: if you floss your teeth every day, you’re already off to a great start, but there’s a correct order of when you should floss and brush. The surprising truth is that it is best to floss before you brush your teeth. Why? Well, think about this: When you floss your teeth, you are disrupting the debris between each tooth, which is made up of food particles, saliva, and, most importantly, bacteria. If you floss before you brush, that bacteria and other debris hang out in your mouth until you brush again, which could be several hours later.
By brushing your teeth after flossing, you avoid the possibility of many issues that leaving said debris and bacteria can cause. Floss first to break loose that unwanted debris and then brush to remove those particles from your mouth! If you were to brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste and then floss and rinse again, you essentially defeat the protective purpose of your fluoride toothpaste by rinsing it all off of your teeth.
Final Tips for Flawless Flossing
To help you guarantee that you get the most benefits from flossing, here are a few extra tips:
- Stay consistent; floss regularly!
- Always floss your teeth once daily (at a minimum). You can either floss in the morning or at night before bed, but we recommend that if you are flossing only once a day, you should floss at night. You don’t want to let everything in between your teeth sit there all night!
- To floss correctly and get the best results possible, take a piece of floss that measures around 12 to 18 inches. Wrap both ends of the floss around your fingers, and delicately glide the floss up and down in between each tooth to remove all unwanted “gunk” (saliva, plaque, bacteria, food particles, etc.)
We hope these tips answer any questions you may have about flossing! Do you have more questions about flossing or oral hygiene in general, or perhaps you need to see a dentist for a simple cleaning or address some concerns? Contact us today or request an appointment. We would love to see your smiling face at LeCroy Dental!