How Often Should You Floss a Day

How Often Should You Floss a Day

The Importance of Flossing

When considering the type of dental floss to use, there are a variety of choices – waxed, unwaxed, specialized floss wands, picks, and even powered flossers. Each type has its own benefit – largely based on personal preference. But when given the choice of whether or not to floss, dentists agree that there is only one right answer. Floss daily. If you are missing teeth, spaces between your teeth are too tight, or dental work and appliances (like crowns, bridges, implants, braces) are getting in the way, then speak to your dentist for an oral care program that fits your dental needs.

The Great Floss Debate

By and large, experts say that dental floss has a long history of controlling plaque and gingivitis. According to the American Dental Association:

Interdental cleaning helps remove debris and interproximal dental plaque, the plaque that collects between two teeth; dental floss and other interdental cleaners help clean these hard-to-reach tooth surfaces and reduce the likelihood of gum disease and tooth decay.

Use of an interdental cleaner (like floss) is an essential part of taking care of your teeth and gums; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reaffirmed flossing as “an important oral hygiene practice” in an August 2016 communication to the ADA.

The ADA goes on to say that 80% of plaque can be eliminated by flossing, plus it’s an essential part of taking care of your teeth and gums. It disrupts food between teeth, reducing the number of bacteria and plaque in the mouth. Less plaque reduces the chances of gum disease and tooth decay.

The reasons why flossing is important sounds pretty convincing, right? Then why is there discussion surrounding whether or not to floss?

Critics argue there is no significant evidence proving the clinical benefits and that flossing research is weak. However, studies on flossing have failed to follow subjects for long enough to determine long-term benefits. The ADA reminds us that, “As doctors of oral health, dentists are in the best position to advise their patients on oral hygiene practices because they know their patient’s oral health status and health history.”

How Often Should You Floss?

So, how often should we floss? And does time-of-day matter? To maintain healthy teeth and gums, dentists recommend flossing once a day. Whether it’s before bed, or after lunch, the most important thing is that you floss. Time-of-day is a personal preference.

The Proper Way to Floss

Do you know how to properly floss your teeth? It never hurts to be reminded of the correct technique. Check out the ADA’s guide, 5 Steps to a Flawless Floss.

If you are having trouble flossing or have questions about which floss is used, contact your dental office to make an appointment. Your dentist can offer support and recommend the type of floss best for your dental health.