How Often Should I Floss?

Flossing is an essential part of maintaining a healthy mouth.

The American Dental Association recommends flossing a minimum of once per day in order to get rid of plaque in areas between the teeth that are difficult or impossible to reach with a toothbrush.

Why is flossing so important? Plaque build-up eventually hardens into tartar, which flossing prevents. Additionally, flossing also plays a role in cavity and gum disease prevention. Flossing takes care of about 40 percent of the work required to get rid of plaque or bacteria in your mouth. Dr. Cozier, a dentist in Layton, says that nearly all of his patients with gum disease could have avoided the pain and expense of periodontal work had they been in the habit of flossing their teeth.

If you miss the areas flossing can clean, the uncleaned surfaces remain coated in plaque which leads to acid production. This can irritate the gums and increase the risk of cavities and susceptibility to gum disease.Fun Fact: Every tooth has five surfaces. When you don’t floss, at least two of the surfaces don’t get cleaned properly. Flossing regularly is the only effective way to remove bacteria from in between the teeth.

Does it matter what type of floss I use?

Don’t let choosing a floss prevent you from flossing. Choose a product specifically designed for flossing such as dental floss, a pre-threaded flosser, a dental pick, a water flosser, a wooden plaque remover, or tiny brushes that get in between the teeth. Whenever possible, choose a product with the ADA Seal of Acceptance to guarantee safe, effective flossing.

Best Types of Floss for Certain Teeth

Dr. Chavez, a dentist in Provo, counsels his patients to experiment with several types of flossing devices or even multiple types of dental floss (i.e. waxed, unwaxed, thick) before they find one that works well for you and your dental needs. Patients with gum recession or larger spaces between your teeth should use a wide, flat dental tape. For teeth that are close together, opt for a thin floss that is advertised as “shred resistant.”

Should I floss before or after I brush my teeth?

It doesn’t matter! Whenever works best for you.

How do I know that I’m flossing properly?

Be careful with your gums—once you lose them, they don’t grow back. However, many patients experience bleeding gums if they haven’t flossed in a while. After a couple days, your gums will get used to gentle flossing and stop bleeding. If the problem persists, however, this may be a more serious issue.

General Flossing Instructions

When should my kids start flossing?

If your child’s teeth touch one another, they need to be flossed. Most children lack the dexterity to floss properly until they are 10 or 11 years old. Help your children floss and make it a habit early on.

Dr. Johnson is a dentist in Riverton. Passionate about oral health, family, and serving the Riverton Community, he loves to share his knowledge and improve patient’s lives through dentistry. To schedule an appointment at any Platinum Dental Utah location, a dentist near me, please call 801-806-4704.