Flossing once a day is an important part of keeping your mouth healthy. Last year there was some high profile news questioning the value of flossing. It was stated that there were not enough studies to prove that flossing had benefits.
While this was a bit frustrating for us to see blasted across the media, the truth is it probably had a limited impact. In surveys, almost 80% of people admit to not flossing regularly.
So is there value in flossing?
The ADA states:
“The American Dental Association recommends cleaning between your teeth once a day. This is important because plaque that is not removed by brushing and flossing can eventually harden into calculus or tartar. Flossing may also help prevent gum disease and cavities.”
Each tooth has 5 surfaces, the front, the top the back and then 2 sides. When you brush you can effectively clean 3 surfaces: the front, top and back, but the 2 sides that are adjacent to other teeth, cannot be reached with a toothbrush. Flossing gets between the teeth, removes trapped food particles and disrupts acid producing bacteria which can damage the enamel and cause interdental decay.
Decay between teeth is hard to repair, and these interdental fillings have a greater risk of recurrent decay and tooth fracture if the area is not kept clean and the enamel continues to be weakened. Flossing is also important in preventing periodontal disease. While the media controversy is around the fact that few studies have actually been made to prove the benefits of flossing, it has been proven that regular flossing reduces gingivitis and bleeding gums. The benefits of disrupting the bacteria around your gums and removing any leftover food is good prevention for gum disease.
Does it Matter How you Floss?
Good flossing technique is actually very important to promoting healthy teeth and gums. It is better not to floss at all than to floss badly. Flossing should not hurt, and you should never use a sawing motion for flossing. Flossing too hard can damage your gums. Any of the dentists and hygienists at the office will be happy to walk you through good flossing technique if you have concerns.
When it comes to flossing, doing it correctly once a day is the most important thing to remember, it does not matter when you decide to floss. Making it a habit at the same time of day, will make you more successful with keeping it a habit, but whether that is first thing in the morning, right before bed or after lunch … anytime is a good time!