Our Ottawa dentists recommend you brush your teeth at least twice a day, and floss once a day. But some patients choose to skip flossing for a number of reasons. Here, we explain why flossing is important and why you should avoid skipping it.
The Importance of Flossing
Preventive oral hygiene is more than attending regular dental exams and cleanings. It also means practicing daily oral health routines at home, like brushing and flossing regularly.
Flossing once a day is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gum line. It helps to clean these spaces, and prevent plaque from building up to prevent issues like cavities, gum disease and bad breath.
There are many myths about flossing, which can cause people to skip this vital oral health care practice altogether.
Here our dentists debunk some of the myths about flossing and explain why you should never skip this important practice.
Myth: You only need to floss if you have food stuck in your teeth.
Brushing doesn't remove bacteria in between the teeth, so only a portion of the tooth surface is getting cleaned. Even if you don't feel or see something stuck between your teeth, there is plaque building up that can only be removed by flossing to prevent issues like cavities, gum disease and bad breath.
Myth: You can use mouthwash instead of floss.
Like brushing, mouthwash doesn't remove the plaque between your teeth. While mouthwash can be an effective supplement to your oral health care routine, it should never be used as a replacement for flossing.
Myth: You can't floss if you are wearing braces.
It may be more difficult to floss if you have traditional metal braces, but it is still necessary. Flossing will help keep your gum line clean and free from plaque buildup 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: Your children are too young to floss.
The earlier kids start flossing teeth, the more likely they will be to maintain good oral health care routines into adulthood. If it is difficult for them to floss on their own, try encouraging them and helping them along the way. If your child is under 10 years old, you can floss for them.
Myth: Your gums bleed when you floss, so you should stop.
If your gums bleed during flossing, this is usually a sign you need to floss more often. The more you floss, the less your gums are likely to bleed. If your gums are bleeding continually, even after regular flossing, then it could be a sign of another dental issue such as periodontal disease, so be sure to share any concerns with your dentist.