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The Importance of Flossing

Flossing is an important part of your daily routine. Our office, along with the American Dental Association, reiterates that flossing is an important and vital part of your daily oral hygiene regimen. Although recent articles in the news have suggested that the effectiveness of flossing has not been scientifically proven, there is simply no other way to clean the surfaces between your teeth!

Why is flossing so important?

Flossing loosens and scrubs away plaque (a slimy, goopy mix of bacteria) that your toothbrush can’t reach. The bacteria in plaque releases toxins. When the plaque is left there and the bacteria is left to accumulate, our gums become irritated and inflamed (known as gum disease, or gingivitis). Bleeding gums when flossing is a sign of inflammation. With time, it can lead to the loss of jaw bone tissue as your bone breaks down to retreat from infection. This is known as periodontitis, which can lead to the gradual loss of bone and eventually, your teeth!

What is the best method to clean between my teeth?

We recommend that you use floss to clean between your teeth. Waterpiks are available at the local Target and CVS; they are better than nothing but do not mechanically remove the plaque located on interdental surfaces. Waterpiks act to dilute the bacterial count but do not remove the source of the bacteria! They are good for using in deeper pockets or with patients who have braces and need to flush out debris.

When is the best time to brush my teeth, before or after?

Either! You will hear different recommendations from different dentists. We just want you to do what’s best for you and what makes it easier to remember flossing.

Some patients prefer to do it before brushing, to get the “harder” task out of the way first. Others prefer to do it afterwards, when there’s less “gunk”. Do what works for you!

What is the difference between all the types of floss?

When you walk down the aisle at the store, it can be overwhelming to look at the different types of floss out there! There is waxed floss and unwaxed floss. A lot of people prefer waxed floss because the wax makes it easier to slide in and out of your teeth. Unwaxed floss is easier to go between tighter teeth, but it is more prone to fraying. We recommend SuperFloss or floss threaders if you have braces, lingual retainers, or bridges.

What floss do you have in your office?

We carry CocoFloss in our office. Cocofloss is a nice, “fluffy” floss that makes it easier to clean plaque from between your teeth. It is infused with coconut oil to help it slide between tooth surfaces. It also comes in many great flavors like coconut, strawberry, orange and mint! For more information (and to order online) go to http://www.cocofloss.com/

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