Maintaining good oral hygiene is essential for a healthy smile and overall well-being. While brushing your teeth is a crucial part of your dental routine, most people don’t prioritize flossing as much as they should. Dentists recommend flossing at least once per day, but ideally, you should be flossing after every meal to remove all food and debris that may have gotten stuck between your teeth.
How to Floss Properly
While the frequency of flossing is essential, the quality of your flossing technique is just as important. Many people may not be aware that improper flossing can be as ineffective as not flossing at all. It's essential to use the correct flossing technique to ensure that you are effectively removing plaque and debris from between your teeth and along the gumline. You may also damage your gums if you floss too aggressively or with material that is too abrasive.
The American Dental Association provides guidance on the correct flossing technique:
- Start with about 18 inches of floss (wax coated or unwaxed).
- Wind most of the floss around one of your middle fingers and the rest around the same finger on the opposite hand.
- Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers.
- Gently insert the floss between your teeth using a back-and-forth motion.
- Curve the floss around each tooth in a C shape, making sure to go beneath the gum line.
- Use a clean section of floss for each tooth to avoid transferring bacteria.
Remember to focus on sliding the floss between your teeth rather than popping or snapping it down into the gum, as this may cause gums to get sore and inflamed.
You may use single-use flossers while you’re on the go or if you have trouble effectively gripping regular floss.
Dentists may also recommend high pressure Waterpiks for patients who may have sensitive gums or may be dealing with an inflammatory gum disease. While these are better than not flossing at all, they are not as effective as traditional string floss.
Finally, if you haven’t flossed in a while, you may still experience some swelling and redness the day after flossing. While this is normal, make sure to continue flossing gently as soon as you can, as more consistent flossing will help you avoid this discomfort in the future.
By flossing correctly, you maximize the effectiveness of your oral hygiene routine, regardless of whether you choose to floss once or twice a day.
Can I Floss More Than Once a Day?
While the general consensus is to floss once a day, the question of how often you should floss can vary based on individual circumstances. Some dental professionals argue that flossing twice a day may provide even greater benefits, especially for individuals prone to plaque buildup or those with certain dental conditions.
Dr. Mark S. Wolff, a dentist and Dean of the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, suggests that flossing twice a day can be particularly beneficial for those with a higher risk of developing gum disease. Individuals with a history of gum problems or those undergoing orthodontic treatment may find that more frequent flossing helps maintain optimal oral health.
Flossing with Dentures or Dental Implants
If you have dentures, dental bridges, or dental implants, your flossing and dental care routine may require more attention to ensure that these dental appliances remain clean and free of plaque. Your dentist may recommend more frequent flossing to maintain the health of both your natural teeth and any dental work you've had done.
Always make sure to take special care when flossing your false teeth and report to your dentist right away if any damage or serious abrasions occur. Regular brushing will also be necessary to retain the color and appearance of your denture or implants.
You Deserve to Love Your Smile
In conclusion, the question of how often you should floss depends on various factors, including professional recommendations, individual oral health needs, and the quality of your flossing technique. While the general consensus is to floss once a day, some individuals may benefit from flossing twice a day, especially if they have specific dental conditions or a higher risk of gum disease.
Contact your local Affordable Dentures & Implants office to address any dental concerns you might be having, including excessive bleeding, swelling, or redness of the gums after flossing. This may be a sign of something more serious and should be addressed right away.