Everything You Need to Know about Flossing

Dental experts, including both the Canadian and American Dental Associations, strongly recommend flossing daily. The reason is simple: Flossing removes food particles and plaque that even the best toothbrush can’t reach.

Here’s all the information you need on this critical part of oral hygiene.

There’s a Right Way to Floss

To maximise your flossing effectiveness, you need to handle your floss the right way. Whether you use conventional floss or a “bow” flosser, this means running the floss along the sides of your teeth.

After inserting the floss between your teeth, pull it to one side in a C shape. Run the floss up and down the tooth then repeat for the other side. Be sure to bring the floss all the way to the top in order to get the area under your gums.

Once you’ve thoroughly flossed, rinse your mouth out with water and spit. Follow up by brushing and then using a good antiseptic mouthwash.

Don’t Be Surprised by Some Bleeding at First

You’re not alone if you’ve avoided flossing for a while. Many people decide to forgo flossing in the hopes that twice daily brushing will be sufficient. Unfortunately, it’s not.

The good news is that it’s never too late to start flossing. But if it’s been awhile since you last flossed, you may notice some bleeding at first. This is to be expected. You may also experience some sensitivity.

Keep flossing. The bleeding and sensitivity should resolve in two to three days. If it doesn’t, be sure to let your dentist know.

There’s No Substitute for Flossing

Quality mouthwashes and fancy toothbrushes are all well and good. These tools can help get rid of harmful bacteria and help keep your mouth healthy, but they’re no substitute for daily flossing.

Only flossing can reach the spaces between your teeth to remove the maximum amount of plaque and help avoid cavities and tooth decay. Antiseptic mouthwash certainly helps, but it can’t replace flossing at least once a day.

If you find flossing to be especially uncomfortable or awkward, you don’t have to stick with traditional string floss. You can use a flossing stick or interdental brush. These are disposable products that help you clean those spaces between your teeth but often provide more control than old-fashioned dental floss.