How Often Should You Floss?

how often should you floss

The following article is a guest post.

The short answer: for your dental health, you should floss as often as you can. After all, it is a key part of maintaining that pretty smile that many people tend to focus on during a conversation.

But of course, you are far more interested in the long answer and the justifications that further explain it. According to the American Dental Association, you should floss at least once a day, before or after brushing. As they explain it, “This is important because plaque that is not removed by brushing and flossing can eventually harden into calculus or tartar.” Flossing prevents the spread of bacteria in the mouth, which is already a place that is hard to keep bacteria-free. Flossing will increase the health of your teeth and gums as it removes the bacteria that a toothbrush is unable to reach. If frequently done, flossing should not be painful. Choose a time after brushing your teeth to do it in order for it to become a habit instead of a chore.

Because whether we like to admit it or not, we do not floss as often as we tell the dentist when the inevitable appointment comes around. And that type of inaction, combined with not brushing teeth, can lead to both short and long term ramifications. As an article for the Today Show stated, “It takes about 24 hours for plaque to form in the mouth and twice daily brushing and daily flossing disrupts the plaque, also known as biofilm, build up.” This build up not only damages the health of your teeth, but tends to smell as it is not being cleaned out of the crevices of the teeth, which contributes to the smell of bad breath. In addition, this bacteria can eat away at the enamel of teeth and damage the aesthetic look of smiling as the teeth are not being properly taken care of.

And before you ask, yes, there is a right way and a wrong way to handle flossing. For one, try not to use dental picks if you can help it. The aforementioned Today Show article commented that dental picks cannot remove the bacteria that grows where the teeth meet. Instead, stick to the standard string floss, though it does not really matter whether it is waxed or unwaxed. As the American Dental Association advises, break around 18 inches off and wrap the majority of it around a middle finger and then do the same on the other hand. From there, floss each and every one of your front teeth in a C-shaped formation in a completely thorough manner. For the back teeth, do a U-shaped formation instead, as that will dig in and remove the extra plague that tends to build up back there. Then again, the ADA did mention to “Don’t forget the backside of your last tooth.” Then throw away the floss, and rinse with water until everything is out.

To avoid expensive dental bills, be sure to also have annual cleanings. It can be hard to create the habit of flossing twice a day, but be sure to make the attempt so that it creates less work your dentist. Less work means less pain and bills when it is time to sit down in that chair. Dr. Johnson at Premier Smile Center can assist in dental care questions or concerns while also advising their patients on the best way to prevent tooth decay. Be sure to have those appointments scheduled twice a year to be sure that your smile is taken care of.

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