How Often Should I Floss? The Ultimate Guide To Flossing
By: Suzanna McAninley, DMDDental floss word written in letters of floss on a blue background
An easy way to improve your oral health, besides brushing your teeth regularly, is to increase your flossing! Everyone has heard it before; each time you go for your cleaning and check up. The hygienist says it, then the doctor comes in and says it – “Make sure you are flossing everyday!” . Usually, patients are better about flossing right after leaving the dentist. Patient’s feel guilty that their gums were bleeding and make a concerted effort to floss more frequently. This habit tapers off after a few weeks. Every 6 months, it’s like a reminder to start being good about flossing again! Here are some tips to help you remember to floss more:
Don’t run out of floss: This happens to everyone. You run out of floss and then make a mental note to buy some more at the store when you go. Most people will forget and by the time they remember to buy it again flossing is no longer a habit! I recommend buying your floss in bulk from Costco or another warehouse store. This way you have a year’s supply in your bathroom.
Keep floss where you can see it: Don’t put your floss in a drawer or cabinet so that you don’t see it. Leave it on the counter right next to your toothbrush . This way it won’t be forgotten and you can see it when you brush your teeth.
Put floss in multiple places: Keep some extra floss in other areas where you are likely to see it. In your purse, or the shower. Some people brush their teeth in the shower, so why not floss in the shower too? Another good place is the car or even your coffee table so you can floss while watching TV!
Try other floss methods: Sometimes string floss is not for everyone. I like patients to use string floss if they can because I believe that you can manipulate it more easily around some areas of teeth. Many companies make floss holders that you wrap string floss around and it gives you a longer handle to be able to reach into your mouth more easily. A lot of patients ask me about using the disposable flossers. My take on those is that as long as you are properly using them with the “C-shape” flossing method they are fine. Whatever tools are at your disposal and help you to floss more often more effectively I like!
Flossing is the only way that you can effectively clean between your teeth. If you are only brushing your teeth, you are essentially only cleaning 3 out of 5 surfaces of your teeth! 3/5 or 60% is not a very good ratio when it comes to oral hygiene! Patients that routinely brush and floss have much better checkups than patients that don’t.
Here is a piece of advice that I heard long ago: Only brush and floss the teeth you want to keep!
Bell Harbour Dental is a family owned, patient-first downtown Seattle Dentist. Check us on out Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or contact us today and boost your dental health!