Our dental team recommends that our patients brush their teeth at least twice a day, and floss once per day. Several myths about flossing abound and our Ottawa dentists often spend time dispelling these during our patients' appointments. Today, we explain why flossing is so important and why you should not skip it.

Preventive oral hygiene is about more than visiting your dentist regularly for a dental checkup. It's also critical to maintain a daily oral healthcare routine at home, which involves brushing and flossing regularly. 

You can effectively clean between the teeth and under the gum line with daily flossing. Not only does flossing help clean these spaces, it also helps prevent plaque from building up so you can avoid long-term damage to your teeth and gums.

Many myths about flossing can cause people to skip this important oral healthcare practice altogether. In this post, our dentists in Ottawa debunk 5 of the most common myths and explain why you should never skip flossing between your teeth. 

Myth 1: You only need to floss when you have food stuck in your teeth.

It takes more than brushing alone to remove bacteria between the teeth, since only part of the tooth's surface gets cleaned with brushing. Even if you don't see or feel something stuck between your teeth, plaque builds up and can only be removed by flossing to prevent issues such as bad breath, cavities and gum disease. 

Myth 2: You can use mouthwash instead of floss.

Like brushing, mouthwash won't remove the plaque between your teeth. While mouthwash can be an effective addition to your oral health care routine, it should never be used as a replacement for flossing.

Myth 3: You can't floss because you have braces.

It may be harder to floss with braces, but it is still a necessary practice. With braces, gums are more likely to become inflamed, so flossing will help keep your gum line clean and free from plaque build-up during your orthodontic treatment. Today, there are also alternative orthodontic treatment options, like Invisalign clear aligners, that can be removed for brushing and flossing to make the process easier.

Myth 4: Your children are too young to floss.

It's never too early for kids to start flossing. In fact, the earlier they start the more likely it is for them to develop and maintain good oral health care routines into adulthood. If they are finding it difficult to floss on their own, try to encourage them and help them along the way. If your child is under 10 years old, you can do it for them.

Myth 5: Your gums bleed when you floss, so you should stop.

If your gums bleed, this is usually a sign that you need to floss more often, not less. Your gums could be bleeding simply because they’re not used to being flossed. The more you floss, the less your gums will bleed. If your gums are bleeding continually, then it could be a sign of gingivitis or gum disease, so be sure to share any concerns with your dentist.

To learn more about flossing, or to schedule an exam and cleaning, contact our Ottawa dentists today.

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