Flossing: Love Your Teeth. Love Your Children

Would you ever consider not brushing your teeth for days, weeks or months at a time? No way! If you were shocked by this question, we’ve got something even more alarming to ask you:

What would you say if we told you that failing to floss your teeth for days, weeks or months is not just equally as disastrous to your oral health as failing to brush, it’s actually worse! That’s right! If you could only brush your teeth or floss — one or the other but not both — then you should choose flossing.

Of course you should do both. The silly scenarios described above are meant to emphasize the crucial nature of flossing, in conjunction with brushing. Indeed, the American Dental Association and we, your friendly neighborhood dental office, want you to know that flossing once a day is an essential part of caring for your oral health.

But what if you’re an expert tooth-brusher? Isn’t brushing your teeth twice a day sufficient? No. While brushing is also very important, daily flossing enables you to remove plaque from between your teeth, those places where it’s impossible for toothbrushes to reach.

At this point, we hope that you’re convinced to floss daily. But you might wonder when you should floss. What time of day? Before or after brushing? It doesn’t really matter. You just need to be sure to floss once a day, every single day. If you’re always too tired to floss before bedtime, then floss in the morning or after lunch. Simply set a specific time every day where you can take a few minutes to literally improve your life.

But in case you’re wondering, some of the most serious tooth-lovers choose to floss every night before going to sleep. Why? Your salivary glands, which neutralize bacteria, slow their production during your slumber, because your brain knows you’re not eating while you’re sleeping. And many serious flossers prefer to floss then swish / rinse after brushing to get the food particles that still remain after brushing.

And remember, flossing should not be painful. If you are new to flossing, you may experience some discomfort and you might even see a small amount of bleeding from the gums initially, but stick with it and the discomfort should be gone within a week or two. If your pain continues, come to our office for a visit.

If people who floss love their teeth, then people who love their children should also floss their children’s teeth. Some people assume that children only need to brush, but as soon as you see two teeth touching in that little mouth, you should floss your children’s teeth. Children should be taught the techniques of flossing to promote good oral care habits, but just be aware that they are typically unable to floss well enough until about age 10, so you’ll need to “take turns” with them.

Therefore, if you would never go without brushing your teeth, then you should adopt the same attitude toward flossing, because it’s just as important, if not more so. If you have questions or concerns about flossing, we would love to have you come and visit our office. Happy flossing!

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