Every time you visit the dentist, one of the most common questions you are certain to hear is, “How often do you floss?” Every patient is different of course, and while some floss every day, others struggle to develop the habit of flossing. Some of the most common reasons we hear in our office for not flossing include a lack of time, that flossing is painful or causes the gums to bleed, or that the floss shreds.
The reality is that even if you brush twice a day, if you do not floss you are missing out on cleaning two-thirds of the surface of your teeth. Over time, plaque left in between the teeth and gums will harden into tartar and cause gingivitis. Floss is specifically designed to get into the areas between teeth that a toothbrush cannot reach, and effectively removes plaque and bits of food caught between your teeth and gums.
Dr. Yabut suggests that if flossing is difficult for you, start developing the habit of flossing by trying to floss just three times a week. Pick a time of day where you won’t be pressed for time and can dedicate an extra minute or two to floss. As you get used to flossing regularly, you can increase the number of days you floss until you are able to floss every day. It is true that for those who have struggled with flossing, it may be difficult at first and your gums may bleed, but if you can stick with the habit, over time you will see a dramatic difference in the health of your gums. And if you miss a day, don’t beat yourself up or quit! It takes time to develop a new habit, so just start again the next day.
Remember that we are always just a phone call away, so if you have any questions about your oral health you are welcome to call the office at 519-824-4770. The Ontario Dental Association also has some great videos on flossing techniques here: http://www.youroralhealth.ca/101-personal-oral-care/dental-floss/111-flossing-techniques