According to a survey conducted by Statistics Canada several years ago, roughly 28% of respondents admitted to flossing at least five times a week. Sadly, that number is far too low. Flossing is something that most of us know we should be doing, but we either forget, floss incorrectly, or don’t floss at all. Proper flossing is an integral element of good oral health care, as well as our overall well-being.

What Does Flossing Do?

Flossing helps dislodge any food that may still be between your teeth after brushing. Most standard toothbrushes can’t get to the hard-to-reach parts of your teeth. By flossing regularly and adequately, you can help prevent any tartar or plaque build-up.

Removing leftover food particles will also help you avoid cavities, as the food can act as a source for bacteria, which can create acid and start to break down the enamel of your teeth. Gum irritation can also arise if these food particles are not removed. This can lead to bleeding gums and potentially gum disease if the build-up turns to tarter and gets under the gumline.

How Often Should You Be Flossing?

The Canadian Dental Association recommends flossing at least once a day. It’s ok to do more than that, but excessive flossing could lead to irritated or bleeding gums. Plaque begins to harden within roughly 24 to 36 hours. Once it hardens, it becomes tartar. Tartar can only be removed through a professional cleaning. By flossing every day, you don’t allow plaque the opportunity to turn into tartar.

If you are just starting to floss regularly, you may notice bleeding from your gums, or they may become irritated. This is normal, but if the bleeding lasts more than a day or two, see your dentist as soon as possible.

Are You Flossing Properly?

Making sure you floss at least once a day isn’t enough. You need to ensure you’re using the correct technique. Cut a piece of floss that is long enough to wrap around the middle and index fingers on both hands with roughly two inches in between. Hold the floss by wrapping it around your middle fingers and guiding it with your index finger and thumb.

Slide the floss between your teeth and make a “C” shape with it around the base of your tooth. Go from the bottom to the top of the tooth a few times. Do this to both sides of each tooth. Whether you floss after or before brushing is up to you, but brushing after does make the most sense, as it’s an excellent way to help prevent tooth decay and disease.

Find a Floss That is Suitable for You

Be true to your teeth, or they may be false to you! The truth is, not all floss is created equal. There is single or multifilament cord floss that you can use depending on your oral health conditions. You can also use floss picks, water flossing or other similar devices.

Contact the dedicated and professional team at Pickwick Dental to book an appointment or if you have any other oral care-related questions.