If you are one of the 50 percent of the population who floss on a daily basis, we think that’s great! We prefer our patients practice good oral hygiene between office visits, and part of that process includes flossing, which is the process of cleaning between the teeth to remove food and debris from the areas that are otherwise hard to reach with a toothbrush. When food remains trapped between the teeth, it provides a breeding ground for bacteria, which can ultimately cause periodontal disease.
You’re probably thinking, “Okay, should I floss before or after brushing?”
According to the American Dental Association, you can do either. The advantage of flossing first is that you can brush away dislodged food debris afterward. However, brushing before flossing allows you to loosen plaque between the teeth, making it easier to floss more effectively.
Whichever you choose, make sure to floss thoroughly. That means using a fresh strand of dental floss each day, and carefully pulling it back and forth between all of the teeth. Do not skip flossing because your teeth look or feel clean.
Unlike brushing, you needn’t floss multiple times a day; once a day will do the trick. Some of our patients choose to floss in the morning or after lunch, however many prefer to floss at night so as to prevent food and debris from remaining in the crevices of the teeth overnight. The idea here is that flossing before bedtime could prevent the build-up of plaque, a known cause of tooth decay.
Patients can choose between interdental cleaning picks, pre-strung flossers, or flexible floss strands. If you have questions about your flossing technique or which type of floss is best for your teeth, please give us a call and we will be happy to discuss this with you and make home care recommendations.