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Many people brush their teeth daily but skip flossing because they don’t see the immediate benefit. A 2016 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study showed that around a third of American adults never floss.2
However, brushing without flossing is less effective. In 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reaffirmed flossing as an “important oral hygiene practice.”5
Flossing your teeth can be uncomfortable initially, but it’s easy to get the hang of after you’ve done it a few times. Follow these steps for an ideal flossing technique:
If you want to floss with a water flosser, aim the water between your teeth and rinse away any food particles. Make sure to get the front and back sides of every tooth.
Depending on your water flosser, you may have to follow specific product instructions to fill the flosser with water and charge it if necessary. Also, some water flossers can attach to your toothbrush, while others are separate.
The time of day you floss is up to you. The ADA does not have any specific advice on when you should floss, just that you should do it correctly and every day.
The most important thing is that you pick a time you’re the most likely to stick with. Do it when it's convenient for you, and you'll have adopted a new healthy habit before long.
You should floss before you brush your teeth. When you floss before brushing, it helps dislodge any food or plaque debris that the toothbrush can then remove. It may also lower the risk of gum disease and bad breath.
One study found that flossing before brushing was better at reducing plaque.6 Also, brushing after flossing led to more fluoride remaining in the mouth.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), you should floss once daily.1
Flossing is essential for a lot of reasons, according to the ADA. Over 500 bacterial species, both good and bad, can be found in plaque. When that bacteria mixes with food debris, water, and other substances, it can damage your teeth.
Flossing once daily will help remove plaque and bacteria from between your teeth. This will not only help protect against cavities but also prevent conditions caused by poor dental hygiene.
There's nothing wrong with flossing twice daily, but it's unnecessary. You might floss a second time to remove food stuck between your teeth.
The most important thing is to be gentle (too much pressure will irritate your gums) while still being thorough.
If you don’t floss your teeth daily, you raise your risk for numerous oral health issues, including tooth decay and gum disease.
Brushing alone isn't sufficient for removing the sticky film of plaque between teeth. Left long enough, plaque eventually hardens into a rough substance called tartar.
Tartar collects along your gums and can lead to cavities and gum disease. Only your dentist can remove it with a professional cleaning.
Flossing daily is key to a clean mouth and may serve as good preventive care for complications elsewhere in the body. For example, evidence suggests poor oral health is linked to diabetes, cardiovascular illnesses, and Alzheimer's Disease.11
You should floss once daily before you brush your teeth. Flossing removes bacteria and helps prevent plaque buildup, gum disease, and tooth decay.
Dentists typically recommend waxed string floss, but you can also use other types of floss, including floss holders and water flossers.
Flossing daily increases the effectiveness of your oral hygiene routine. Start flossing once daily to help avoid costly dental bills and take care of your overall health.
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