When is the Best Time to Floss?
Everyone knows that flossing is important for dental health. But when is the best time to floss? Is it before brushing, or after? Morning, afternoon, or evening? Once or twice a day? Here’s what you need to know about the best times to floss.
Is flossing really that important?
Flossing removes food particles that get trapped in the spaces between your teeth. These particles aren’t removed effectively by your toothbrush, so they stay there and create a site where bacteria can grow. Bacterial plaques develop, as they feed on the sugars contained in the food.
If this plaque isn’t removed, it hardens into tartar, a hard substance that precipitates inside your mouth. Tartar is much more difficult to remove than plaque, and dental tools are required to get it off. Tartar makes brushing and cleaning more difficult, potentially causing bleeding and discomfort.
Floss is made from strong nylon filaments, which you can insert between your teeth to remove debris and plaque from those hard-to-reach places. Using floss and brushing is more effective than brushing alone, and flossing is important for preventing gingivitis as well as tooth decay.
Should I brush first or floss first?
Should you brush first, then floss, or the other way around? The truth is that it doesn’t really matter, as long as you do both correctly. It’s important to choose a toothbrush that feels comfortable, and use it twice a day. Both manual and electric toothbrushes are equally effective, as long as they’re used regularly and correctly. You should move your toothbrush in short strokes across the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces of your teeth. For best results, you should brush for at least 60-120 seconds.
Brushing doesn’t remove all of the plaque, which is where flossing comes in. Flossing cleans where your toothbrush can’t reach, and combining both flossing and brushing is the best way to maintain healthy teeth.
How often do I need to floss?
You should floss twice a day, either before or after you brush your teeth. If you have children, you should also brush and floss their teeth twice a day if they’re young, and supervise their brushing when they’re older. Flossing requires more manual dexterity than brushing, and children may not have the right level of motor skill development to floss on their own until age 9 or 10.
What if flossing hurts?
Cleaning between your teeth should never be painful. If it is, it’s possible that you might be flossing too hard. You don’t have to use too much force. If you’re prodding the gum too often, it can cause damage over time. Some people also have sensitive teeth, and are more likely to experience discomfort after flossing.
If your teeth are bleeding after flossing, it’s usually a sign of gum disease. Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gum tissue, which can cause pain and bleeding after you brush and floss your teeth. Improving your overall oral health will generally cause gingivitis to go away on its own. However, it’s still important to talk to your dentist about it. If left alone, gingivitis can eventually progress into more serious forms of gum disease, which could ultimately cause your teeth to loosen and fall out.
It doesn’t matter when you floss, as long as you do it.
As long as you’re flossing twice a day, it doesn’t really matter when you do it. Whether it’s in the morning and the evening, or in the morning and again after lunch, the exact timing doesn’t really make a difference. It also doesn’t matter if you brush before or after you floss. When it comes to flossing, the important thing is if you do it, not when you do it.