Your Flossing Questions Answered – The Basics to Know about Dental Floss
Cleaning between the teeth, also known as interdental cleaning, is important because it cleans where a regular toothbrush simply cannot reach. How many times have you been told you need to floss your teeth, but you’re left with many unanswered questions.
Here are the answers to some of your most asked questions.
- How often should I floss my teeth? You should clean between your teeth at least once a day, preferably in the evening.
- Is it better to floss at night or in the morning? It is best to floss at night after you have consumed your last meal. This ensures there is no plaque sitting on your teeth when you are sleeping. Saliva stimulation is low during the night, as we are not actively swallowing, talking, or eating. Saliva protects our mouth by neutralizing the environment, making it difficult for cavities to form.
- Can I reuse floss for multiple uses? Floss is intended to be one-time use. In fact, we recommend using about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around one of your middle fingers. Wind the remaining floss around the same finger on the opposite hand. This finger will take up the floss as you move along in your mouth.
- Is Waxed or unwaxed floss better? Every person’s mouth is different, so there is not one type of floss that works best for all people. For example, someone with crowded teeth may need a waxed floss, whereas someone else with larger spaces between teeth may need unwaxed floss. Ask your dental professional what type of floss works best for your mouth.
- Should I floss before or after brushing? It doesn’t matter if you choose to floss before or after brushing your teeth. You are cleaning between the teeth when you floss, and your toothbrush doesn’t reach this area. The important thing is to make it a daily habit.
- Should flossing hurt? Flossing your teeth should not cause pain. You want to wrap the floss against the tooth, in an up-and-down motion.
- Is flossing the best option for me or should I use something else to clean between my teeth? Flossing is indicated if you have high motivation, good dexterity, ability to complete the task, and have healthy tissue between the teeth. Remember, there are other options to clean between your teeth.