In addition to brushing twice a day for two minutes each time, flossing is an important part of a good at-home oral hygiene routine. Whether you use traditional string floss, a water flosser, or another dental tool, flossing can help you avoid bad breath, tooth discoloration, cavities, and gum disease.
If you brush your teeth without flossing, you are leaving up to 40% of your tooth’s surface uncleaned. Bacteria and plaque love to hide in the nooks and crannies between teeth. Flossing works to remove this hard-to-reach plaque before it develops into a serious problem. Without daily oral care, plaque can damage your enamel, irritate your gums, and harden into tartar. Tartar is a substance that further irritates gums and causes them to recede and detach from your teeth. Tartar can only be safely removed by a dental professional through a special cleaning process.
We recommend flossing at least once every day to remove food particles and debris from between your teeth and from under your gumline that your toothbrush cannot reach. You can floss any time during the day; the fact that you floss every day is more important than its timing. However, many of our patients do prefer to floss before bedtime for a cleaner feeling before going to sleep. Additionally, it’s appropriate to floss before or after brushing.
Too much flossing each day can irritate your gums, especially if you’re also flossing too forcefully. If you do floss more than once a day and your gums are tender and red, cut back to once a day to give your gums a break. Consider using a water flosser on a gentle pressure setting instead of string floss if you still want to floss after every meal. But if you do not currently floss at least once a day and your gums are tender, red, swollen, and bleeding, this is another story. You likely have early-stage gum disease and probably need to make some improvements to your oral hygiene routine.
Gentle, daily flossing can reduce your risk for many dental issues and help keep your gums and teeth healthy and strong. To ask us any questions about flossing or to schedule your next checkup and cleaning, contact our Katy dental office today.