20 Jun Benefits of Dental Flossing & How to Floss Properly
Benefits of Dental Flossing & How to Floss Properly
Flossing between your teeth is just as important to your oral health routine as brushing. Despite this, 3 in 4 Australian adults rarely or never clean in between their teeth!
Cleaning in between your teeth works to remove bacteria buildup, keeping your teeth and gums in good condition. Neglecting to regularly dental floss your teeth can have potentially painful and irreversible consequences on your oral health.
In this article, we go through why you need to floss, how to floss properly and other common dental floss questions.
What Are the Benefits of Dental Flossing?
There are many benefits to regularly flossing in between your teeth. Many people don’t realise that along with brushing, flossing in between teeth is essential to help maintain good oral hygiene. A toothbrush simply cannot reach the gaps in between your teeth very well.
Benefits of flossing include:
- General oral care & prevention of oral health problems
- Decreased risk of gum disease, gingivitis, periodontitis, diabetes and heart disease
- Reduced buildup of tartar
- Fresher breath & reduces bad breath
- Lessens the risk of cavities
- A whiter, healthier smile
- Save money on potentially expensive oral surgery
How Often Should You Floss
Dentists recommend that you dental floss at least once a day. This ensures that you are adequately removing bacteria and food debris frequently enough to prevent cavities or gum disease from developing. Some people choose to floss twice daily, however once a day is enough.
How to Floss Properly
You may be wondering what’s the best way to floss? Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to floss properly:
- Get a piece of floss about 30-40cm long. Wrap the ends of the floss around each middle finger, leaving 3-10cm in length to floss your teeth with.
- With a solid grip on each end of the floss, use the middle length of the floss to slide up and down the spaces between your teeth. This should be done very gently.
- Using a clean section of floss for each tooth, insert and remove the floss for each gap between your teeth, using a zig-zag motion. Repeat this for each space between your teeth.
- Slide the dental floss gently under your gumline, at the base of each tooth and be sure to floss your back teeth.
Should I Floss at Night or in the Morning?
As long as you’re flossing at least once a day, you can do so at any time. We recommend choosing a time that best fits in with your schedule, so you won’t forget to do so.
Some people prefer to start the day with a clean mouth by flossing in the morning. For many, they prefer to floss before bed to remove any remaining food particles from throughout the day.
The time of day that you floss is totally up to you – as long as you’re getting it done.
Do You Brush Before Flossing or After?
As long as your flossing is part of your daily oral health routine, it doesn’t matter if you floss before or after brushing your teeth. Some prefer to floss before brushing to remove food particles, then brush to completely sweep all debris out of the mouth. However, when done correctly, flossing before or after brushing has the same effect.
What Happens If You Don’t Floss?
While flossing is as compulsory to your oral health routine as brushing, it’s commonly thought to be an optional step. This is completely untrue – neglecting to floss can have negative impacts on your health.
If you don’t regularly floss, you allow plaque to remain and build up in between teeth. This will eventually harden into a substance called tartar. Unlike plaque that can be easily removed with floss, tarter can only be removed by your dentist and or hygienist. If left untreated, dangerous bacteria can build up within tartar which can irritate and inflame gums (a condition called gingivitis). This can impact the bone structures that support teeth, leading to a tooth extraction or loose teeth.
To prevent bacteria from growing, it’s vital to floss daily.
Different Types of Dental Floss
What type of teeth floss should you use? These are the most common types of dental floss and what they’re best for:
- Waxed floss – one of the most common types, this floss has an additional layer of wax. This layer makes the floss stronger, so it doesn’t break as easily as other types. This is the best dental floss to glide easily between teeth.
- Unwaxed floss – another common type, this floss is ideal for those with very small gaps between their teeth. This is because unwaxed floss is very thin and can slide between small spaces.
- Dental tape – thicker than other teeth flosses, dental tape has a flatter and wider appearance. This is the best dental floss for those with large gaps between their teeth who need thicker floss.
- Super floss – a speciality type of floss that is used by those with braces, bridges or significantly wide gaps between their teeth.
What Do Brisbane Smiles Dentists Recommend for Flossing?
The experts at Brisbane Smiles recommend Glide floss, a type of waxed dental floss, as it slides easily between teeth. If you’re not a fan of dental floss, there are alternatives such as interdental brushes or dental picks.
Dental Flossing FAQs
Can mouthwash replace flossing?
No, you can’t replace flossing for using mouthwash. They serve two different functions – mouthwash cannot remove bacteria or food debris from your teeth. Both mouthwash and flossing are important elements of your oral hygiene routine, but are not interchangeable.
How do I know if I’m flossing correctly?
Flossing should be done gently, and should not result in bleeding gums or pain along the gumline. It should involve gently moving the floss up and down the sides of each tooth. If you’re unsure, ask your Dentist at your next visit how to best floss your teeth.
Why do my teeth smell when I floss?
If your dental floss or mouth smells unpleasant after flossing, this may be because the food particles that you removed have started to rot. This is likely due to infrequent flossing, allowing the food debris to rot in between your teeth. An unpleasant smell may also indicate tooth decay or gum issues involving bacteria.
Should children floss?
Yes, children should be cleaning between their teeth every day. Once a child’s teeth are touching side-by-side, parent’s should be flossing their childs teeth once a day. Or, if the child is old enough, parents should show them how to do so themselves.
Are bleeding gums from flossing normal?
If you do not have existing oral health issues, your gums should not bleed while flossing. If you are flossing too hard, however, this may occur. If you persistently encounter bleeding gums from flossing, it’s important to chat to your Dentist about this.
How to Best Maintain Your Oral Hygiene
In addition to daily flossing and twice daily brushing, it’s essential to see your Dentist for a check-up and clean once every six months. In your next hygiene appointment, our Oral Health Experts can show you the best technique to floss and how to keep your mouth in top condition.