How Often Should You Floss?

Why Floss?

We’ve all heard about the necessity of flossing time and time again, and yet, only 40% of Americans floss daily and 20% never floss at all. Meanwhile, 70% of Americans brush their teeth twice a day to contribute to contribute to preventative dental care. 

Although we would love to see both of those numbers at 100%, for now, let’s focus on why there’s such a disparity between brushing and flossing.

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that you floss at least once a day, in addition to your twice-daily brushing routine. Actually, they recommend daily interdental cleaning. Flossing is a form of interdental cleaning, but we’ll get to that later.

When Should You Floss?

We all know the best times to brush our teeth. In the morning after breakfast (or as soon as you wake up, if you’re forgetful), and in the evening right before bed. But when is the best time to floss?

Believe it or not, there’s no exact time. The ADA suggests that the best time to floss is whenever is most convenient for you! 

If possible, flossing before bed is the best because it ensures that you go to sleep with a clean mouth. Doing it immediately after brushing also allows the floss to push the lingering fluoride from your toothpaste into the areas between your teeth for an extra cleaning measure.

However, it’s most important to build a habit of flossing daily, so whenever you actually do it is better than waiting for an optimal time that’s inconvenient and gets missed more often than not.

Maybe the best time for you is after your lunch break. Maybe it’s on your bus/subway ride home from work. Maybe it’s after breakfast or after dinner. Maybe it’s while you watch TV in the evening! The only time that’s not a good time to floss is while you’re driving. Just make sure you’re doing it daily.

Types of Interdental Cleaning

Flossing is a tried-and-true method of interdental cleaning that most of us are well aware of. Modern flossing was invented in New Orleans by Levi Spear Parmly in 1819, and became commercially available in 1882 when Codman and Shurtleft began selling unwaxed silk floss. Johnson & Johnson registered the first patent for dental floss in 1898.

There are lots of different brands of floss out there. Some are waxed, some are unwaxed. Some are expensive and some are cheap. Studies show that they’re all more or less the same. The cheapest floss at your local supermarket will still have a notable impact on your oral health. 

Traditional floss isn’t the only way to clean between your teeth, however. There is also dental tape, picks, water flossers, and more.

Floss picks have grown in popularity because some people find them easier to operate. Traditional floss can pinch your fingers, making it uncomfortable for some people, but floss picks can limit your ability to reach the teeth from every necessary angle. However, the handle can also make it easier to reach your back teeth than traditional floss. 

Water flossers, also known as oral irrigators, use pressurized water and/or air to remove food particles and bacteria from between teeth and around the gums. These are a great opportunity for individuals with sensitive gums. Waterpik is a popular example of a water flosser.

How to Floss

Flossing is easy to do, and it’s important to instill the habit in children at a young age so that the importance of it stays with them well into adulthood.

When using traditional floss, break off 18 to 24 inches, and wind most of it around your two index fingers, leaving a couple of inches between them. Hold the line taut and place it between two teeth. 

Move the floss up and down, against both teeth one at a time. Be careful not to slide it into your gums, or you could cause bleeding.

Move from tooth to tooth and repeat the process, using a new, clean section of the floss for each interdental space.

How to Floss with Braces

Braces can make flossing difficult, but it’s not an excuse not to. Use waxed dental floss to prevent it from getting caught in the braces, or try using a water flosser to ensure a thorough cleaning with no tangles or dislodged wires.

Oral Health is Important!

Twice-daily brushing and daily flossing can help prevent a lifetime of oral health challenges that nobody wants to deal with. Tobacco products can cause mouth cancer, staining, and other issues. Alcohol and soda can also cause oral decay, so they should be done in moderation. 

Above all else, make sure you’re visiting your dentist at least once a year, preferably every six months, for a routine cleaning and checkup. Here at Monarch Family Dental, we want nothing more than to help you stay on top of any health issues that may arise. 

Give us a call today at 303-920-4900 or email us at office@MonarchFamilyDental.com to schedule an appointment. We look forward to ensuring your dental needs are met so your teeth work as intended well into old age!

Monarch Family Dental
of Westminster

905 W 124th Ave Ste 130
Westminster, CO 80234

303-920-4900

Office@MonarchFamilyDental.com

Monday: 8:00am – 5:00pm
Tuesday: 10:00am – 7:00pm
Wednesday: 8:00am – 5:00pm
Thursday: 7:00am – 3:00pm
Friday: 8:00am – 2:00pm
Sat, Sun: Closed

Monarch Family Dental of Westminster map

Monarch Family Dental
of Westminster

905 W 124th Ave Ste 130
Westminster, CO 80234

303-920-4900
Office@MonarchFamilyDental.com

Monday: 8:00am – 5:00pm
Tuesday: 10:00am – 7:00pm
Wednesday: 8:00am – 5:00pm
Thursday: 7:00am – 3:00pm
Friday: 8:00am – 2:00pm
Sat, Sun: Closed

Monarch Family Dental of Westminster map

New Patient Special Includes a Professional Dental Cleaning*, Comprehensive Exam,
and X-rays for $89

* Periodontal Therapy not included