When should you floss?

Most adults should be in the habit of flossing on a daily basis, but the truth is that very few do. Experts advise its use daily, although the reality is that it is only used weekly (in the best of cases).

Many dentists advise its use before brushing to loosen the food particles that hide between the teeth so that the brush can sweep them effectively. However, there are benefits to be gained, whether used before or after brushing. That being said, if you are just starting to floss, it is best to do so before brushing your teeth to introduce it as a habit.

Why floss? Advantages of its use

Food particles and bacteria combine to create plaque that settles on your teeth. When plaque settles between your teeth, toothbrushes can’t touch it. So if it is not removed quickly, the plaque turns into tartar and can only be scraped off by going to the dentist. Plaque causes cavities, which can occur between the teeth, and gingivitis, a condition that can lead to gum disease.

That is why it is necessary to start as soon as possible with the use of this oral hygiene accessory. There are also other benefits of its use, such as those that we expose below.

Remove plaque

Plaque is a colorless sticky film that builds up around and between teeth and along the gum line. Although difficult to see, plaque is not something you want to stay in your mouth for long. It forms on and around the teeth when bacteria in the mouth mix with sugary or starchy foods and drinks. These bacteria release acids that break down carbohydrates. If you don’t brush your teeth, bacteria, acids, and carbohydrates can mix to form a film of plaque around your teeth and gum line.

Bacteria in plaque can release acids that attack tooth enamel, so if not removed by brushing and flossing, it can lead to cavities over time. Also, a buildup of plaque can harden into tartar, which builds up along the gum line.

Reduces the risk of cavities

Tooth decay can result in a small pit that causes a small opening or hole in the hard surface of the teeth (enamel). Although this process takes time, the more plaque you have on your tooth enamel, the greater your risk of developing a cavity.

Flossing between teeth at least once a day can help remove hidden food particles and plaque buildup, and reduce the risk of cavities.

Prevents gum disease

Gingivitis is the initial stage of gum disease. One of the first signs is inflammation around the gums and possible bleeding when you brush or floss.

If gingivitis is not treated, it can lead to a more serious infection known as periodontitis . This can cause the gums to recede or pull away from your teeth. If left untreated, periodontitis can trigger an inflammatory response throughout the body.

Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day can help reduce your risk of gum disease. Professional cleanings performed by your dentist every 6 months can also help keep your gums healthy.

Flossing reduces bad breath

Bad breath (halitosis) is a common problem. But using thread is one of the tools you can use to keep this annoying mouth odor at bay. When food gets caught between your teeth, it slowly begins to break down. If you don’t remove food particles, it can cause bad breath.

Also, if plaque builds up around or between your teeth and begins to erode tooth enamel, it can cause tooth decay and gum disease, which contribute to bad breath.

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Types of dental floss

Classic dental floss typically comes in two varieties: waxed and unwaxed. The choice between the two is often down to personal preference, especially since dentists claim that there is no difference between the effectiveness of the two types. If your teeth are closer together or crowded together, a layer of wax can make those tight spaces easier to access.

Flossing also comes in the form of a ribbon, which is wider and flatter and works well if you have gaps between your teeth. Also, if you have braces, bridges, or gaps, you may want to try super floss. This type has a regular thread thread, fluffy thread, and a threader with a stiff end.

If traditional flossing is difficult for you, there are some flossing alternatives such as interdental brushes, water flossers, and air flossers. These accessories allow you to use water, air, or small brushes similar to a mascara wand to clean the sides and between the teeth.

When is the best time?

Frequent flossing is helpful. We should all use it once a day, either in the morning or before bed . As we have seen previously, there are great benefits. The good thing about doing it before bed is that you have accumulated a whole day of dirt and you need to remove it from your teeth.

On the other hand, if you are too tired at night and are reluctant to add anything else to your brushing routine, flossing in the morning is a great way to refresh your mouth during the day.

It is generally recommended to floss before brushing your teeth . When you floss, you normally loosen food particles and plaque around your teeth. The brushing action helps remove plaque and debris that you have removed from your teeth and gum line.

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Tips for flossing correctly

As we said before, the choice of a type of thread depends on personal preferences, but the tips for use are the same for everyone. Follow this technique to use it like a pro:

  • Take out a piece of floss that is longer than your forearm. You want to use a clean section of floss between each tooth, so using the same piece for all teeth is not recommended.
  • Wrap a small amount of yarn around the middle finger of one hand and then the middle finger of the other.
  • Squeeze your thumb and index finger on both ends of the floss and guide it between each tooth. Gently pull the floss up until it glides down to the gums.
  • Push the floss gently against the tooth to make a “c” shape. Move the floss up and down. The idea is to go around the tooth, not just quickly lower and raise the floss. Move it to the side of the adjoining tooth and repeat the “c” shape technique.
  • Pull the floss up and unroll a clean section of floss, wrapping the used section around your other finger.
  • Repeat the process until you have flossed each tooth.