(And Other Questions You’ve Been Dying to Know About Flossing!)
Should I Floss Before Or After Brushing My Teeth?
The best practice is actually to floss before you brush your teeth. The reason for this is that flossing before your brush your teeth opens up the areas in between your tooth by getting the food and plaque out. This allows the fluoride in your toothpaste to work more effectively in those areas when you actually brush. If you’re a stickler about flossing, you could floss both before and after brushing!
How Often Do I Need to Floss?
You should really floss once a day, every single day. If you do it less than that you’ll start to get a lot of food caught in between your teeth. If you do it more often you won’t get much of an additional benefit. Once a day (of good flossing) is plenty in order to keep your gums healthy and your breath fresh. The one exception to this is if you have an area that constantly traps food. You’ll want to floss this area more often (usually right after eating) to get that food out. Food that sits next to your tooth can cause a cavity rather quickly.
What Is The Best Type of Floss?
The best type of floss is one that you’ll use. All things being equal, a Waterpik actually cleans the best in between your teeth but it can make a big mess in your bathroom! I personally use a glide type floss every day and my gums stay very healthy with minimal buildup in between them. If you’ve got tight contacts in between your teeth this is probably the best type of floss for your as it will go between your teeth without shredding. If you’ve got big spaces in between your teeth you should consider using an interdental brush to clean those spaces out better. String floss won’t clean those areas as effectively. If you’re really lazy and don’t mind making a mess, go with the Waterpik like we discussed previously.
Are There Any Types of Floss or Products That I Shouldn’t Use?
Please don’t use a toothpick to clean in between your teeth. A toothpick is hard and can cause more damage than good. I’ve seen several patients lately who’ve gotten a piece of toothpick stuck between their teeth and couldn’t get it out. All they knew was that their gums really hurt! Another type of floss that I really don’t like is the unwaxed string kind. It shreds like crazy and gets stuck in between your teeth. Save your money and buy a slightly more expensive waxed version of the floss.
Are There Really Any Benefits To Flossing?
Flossing has a huge impact on your oral health. Brushing alone only cleans about 60% of your tooth surface while flossing reaches that other 40%. After flossing routinely for a week or two you’ll notice a big difference in the health of your gums. They shouldn’t bleed anymore when you brush and floss.
Healthy gums help you avoid gum disease which has been linked to a variety of other full body health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.
How Do I Make Myself Floss?
This is the hardest thing for most people. They either forget or just don’t want to floss. With flossing it is really important to get into a routine. Force yourself to do it while brushing your teeth at night. If you keep this up for a full three weeks you’ll likely have developed it into a habit and you won’t have nearly as big a problem doing it as you did before. The biggest thing you have to remember to do is to keep flossing regularly or you’ll slip back into old habits.
How Do I Floss With Braces?
It is tricky. I recommend all my patients with braces get a Waterpik. This makes it easy to clean in between the brackets without having to thread floss in everywhere. If a Waterpik isn’t an option then you will need to get a hold of some superfloss or floss threaders. Superfloss has a rigid end that you can slip into small holes . Floss threaders are actually separate from the floss but also help you thread the floss in between your teeth with minimal effort.