Do You Need to Floss Daily?

Do You Need to Floss DailyThe importance of brushing your teeth daily is obvious to most patients, but do you need to floss daily too? The answer is a resounding yes, because daily flossing is just as important as daily teeth brushing. Flossing between your teeth and around your gum line is a necessary step in your daily at-home dental hygiene routine, because it reaches the small spaces often missed by your brush, the very spaces where plaque and bacteria accumulate most to cause dental disease.

Why Flossing is Important

Your oral care is not complete without flossing, because your mouth is not as clean without reaching the crevices where infection and dental disease occur most. Flossing helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease, by clearing the crevices between teeth and around your gum line of plaque build-up, food debris, and bacteria that can lead to infection. The bristles of a toothbrush are usually not small or thin enough to effectively clean these areas, so without flossing, you are at greater risk for the occurrence of cavities and gingivitis.

How to Floss Properly

Flossing is easy and does not take a lot of time, so there is no excuse to skip it. Here are steps to floss properly:

  1.  Cut a long piece of floss (approximately 18 inches) to begin
  2.  Wind the floss between your middle fingers on each hand and use your pointer fingers and thumbs to pull the middle portion taut
  3.  Gently slide floss up and down between teeth
  4.  With care, gently use the floss to contour around teeth and your gum line to effectively clear those areas of debris

Dental Hygiene Steps

In addition to daily flossing, you should be practicing these proper dental hygiene steps to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Here is how to keep your teeth and gums healthy:

  • Brush your teeth twice per day, morning and night
  • Floss at least once daily
  • Use anti-bacterial mouthwash
  • Use fluoridated toothpaste to strengthen tooth enamel
  • Eat sugary and starchy foods in moderation
  • Visit your dentist every six months for dental cleanings and check-ups