How Often Should You Floss? The Basic Guide to Flossing.

Learn The who, what, where and why to a healthy smile.

How often should you floss? Everyone knows they should floss. It’s the difference between healthy teeth and gums or potentially, developing gum disease. Gum disease (Periodontitis) affects more than half the population yet, many of us still don’t follow basic advice from our Dental Hygienist on keeping those hard to reach areas free from plaque and bacteria.

Do you floss as often as you should? And are you doing it right? Although flossing can seem like a chore, it can make all the difference to your gum health and even general health. So let’s break out the floss and follow our simple guide to a dazzling smile.

Why Should I Use Dental Floss?

Dental experts advise the use of interdental brushes or dental floss from the age of 12 as part of your daily oral health routine. Cleaning between your teeth removes plaque. Less plaque means less inflammation, meaning less problems arising in the future. Brushing alone doesn’t get to those areas, so make flossing part of your oral hygiene routine.

Some people have very small spaces in between their teeth, meaning interdental brushes may not suit your needs. In this case flossing is a great alternative. Your Dental Hygienist will be able to show you the best method for cleaning in between your teeth.

How Often Should You Floss?

how often should you floss?

Most of us brush our teeth twice a day, it’s been drummed into all of us since a young age but, what about those spaces in between your teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach?

Flossing cleans between your teeth and along your gum line. This is where plaque can build up. If plaque is allowed to build up between the teeth, it then calcifies which is known as tartar also causing inflammation and bleeding. Tartar can lead to gum disease, and though it can be removed by your dental hygienist, prevention is the forward way to think. No plaque? No tartar, reducing the risk of periodontal disease.

Floss like a Boss

Although it’s not rocket science, learning to floss still takes some practise. We recommend that you break off about 45cm of floss and wind some around 1 finger of each hand

Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers, with about 2.5cm of floss between them, leaving no slack.. When you floss, gently slide the floss between your teeth and guide it down towards the gum. When the floss reaches your gum line, curve it into a C-shape against a tooth until you feel resistance.

Hold the floss against your tooth and use the tooth to slide the plaque up and out. An easier way to think about the method is “DOWN – PUSH – UP” or “UP – PUSH – DOWN” for your upper teeth.

The main point to remember is that teeth have TWO sides. So make sure when you clean between your teeth, you’re flossing both sides of each tooth. Those who need a little more stability when flossing may benefit from pre-threaded Flosettes or “floss on a handle”. The technique is identical.

Finally, When flossing, keep to a regular pattern. Start at the top and work from left to right, then move to the bottom and again work from the left to right. This way you won’t miss any teeth.

Use a fresh section of the length of floss you broke off for each tooth. don’t be too rough, it can harm your gums. Your dentist should be able to give you some pointers on flossing

The most effective time to floss is on an evening, before brushing your teeth. However, there is no limit on the amount of flossing you can do daily, want to floss after every meal? GO FOR IT

When To Floss

The most convenient time is when you are already brushing them. But should you floss after you brush your teeth or before? 

Studies have shown that flossing before you brush does a better job of removing plaque and bacteria between the teeth, whilst maintaining the right concentration of fluoride on your tooth enamel. 

Ultimately, the best time to floss is when your day allows it, so carve out a small amount of time every day to look after your teeth. 

What about bleeding gums?

The number one reason why people don’t floss, is complaints of bleeding gums. Did you know, the most likely reason they are bleeding is because you’re not flossing regularly enough? As we know from earlier in this post, plaque causes inflammation and this is why gums can bleed easily when they’ve been neglected. Continue to floss as directed by your dental team and the bleeding should stop as your gums become healthier.

If you are still noticing regular bleeding after a few days, contact your dental team, they will be able to advise on this.

What Are The Alternatives to Dental Floss?

Flossing isn’t for everyone, sometimes the technique is too tricky to grasp or, just isn’t quite effective enough. A popular alternative are interdental brushes, these are easy to use and come in different sizes meaning a more tailored and personalised cleaning routine. The best thing? They are reusable for around 7 days and come in large packets meaning more for your money!

A handy tip, TePe is the the reputable brand that most practices use however, all supermarkets have their own range. Please be aware that TePe colours do not match those of different brands, so make sure you let your dentist/hygienist know and they can give you the correct size that corresponds throughout.

There are also water flossers, also known as oral irrigators which direct a stream of water between your teeth and gums thus removing soft plaque.

In Conclusion

So, lets break this down. Who should floss? Everybody, from around the age of 12 unless instructed otherwise. Why should I floss? To help prevent oral diseases such a gingivitis, gum disease and dental decay. When to floss? Ideally, once daily on an evening before your brush your teeth. What to use? Traditional floss, flosettes, interdental cleaners or water flossers.

Still unsure whether flossing is for you? Here’s a great quote:

You don’t have to floss all your teeth. Just the ones you want to keep!

*Dental floss should not be seen as an alternative to dental hygiene appointment. so be sure to book in a visit with your dental hygienist to prevent tooth decay and keep your smile tip top.

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