How would you answer?
☐ Once in a while
☐ Once a week
I can’t tell you how many people say the top two choices when I ask them if they floss. Just in case you didn’t get to read about me and what I do for a living, I’m a registered dental hygienist!
It’s nice to see that most people follow a regular routine of brushing twice a day, but flossing seems to be commonly neglected.
Is there a point in flossing?
Absolutely! There is both a cosmetic and legitimate reason why you should.
I think the cosmetic reason should speak for itself. You wouldn’t wipe your rear but skip the crack, would you? It’s the same concept as brushing your teeth but not flossing! Food that gets trapped between your teeth, if left undisturbed, can crystallize and turn into tartar, which no amount of brushing will remove. In addition, it can serve as food for the bacteria that live in your mouth. These bacteria then produce acid byproducts which can contribute to tooth decay.
Thus, flossing plays an integral part in maintaining oral health! It reduces tartar buildup and minimizes the plaque and food particles that could be food for bacteria, essentially reducing your chances of getting cavities between your teeth.
But what if…
I can’t reach the back of my mouth? Use a floss handle! It looks like a long stick with a small head and floss attached at the end of it. That way, you won’t have to choke yourself trying to get your fingers back there!
I have tight contacts? Try using a water flosser! Waterpik® is the most popular brand of water flossers, but they can range from $50 to upwards of $90 or $100. You can find other brands on Amazon that will do the same job for less. Water flossers clean your teeth by small jet streams of water, not only cleaning in between teeth but also irrigating your gums and flushing out bacteria. Neat right? Another benefit of using one of these is you can share it with your family since most water flosser packages come with 6 or more tips!
I don’t have time. Do you have a minute or two during the evening that you could set aside? That’s pretty much all it takes to floss! If anything, it’s more important to floss at night than in the morning so you’ll get ALL the food you’ve been eating all day out from your teeth.
I keep forgetting. I usually keep my floss next to where my toothbrush is so I remember to grab some. At this point, it’s hardwired into my system so even if for some reason it goes missing, I remember to get floss first. It bugs me if I run out and I can’t floss!
It definitely takes time to incorporate this into your routine especially if you’ve never flossed in your life, so don’t fret!
Aim for flossing one night a week – pick a day, and try to establish that as your flossing night every week. Gradually add more days to when you can floss and before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to better oral health!