Flossing your teeth once a day is the most important thing you can do to maintain healthy gums. The small investment of time it takes day-to-day can pay off greatly in the long run – fewer cavities, minimizing the risk of developing gum disease, better breath etc. Here are a few questions we hear about flossing:
Why can’t I just brush my teeth daily and floss once a week?
We certainly recommend brushing your teeth at least twice a day. Brushing removes plaque and stimulates your gums – but ultimately your toothbrush only comes in contact with 60% of the surface of your teeth. A toothbrush simply can’t reach in between your teeth where food and plaque can hide. Flossing daily reduces the chance that plaque will build up and calculus will form.
Is plaque really that bad?
Cavities aren’t just caused by food in between your teeth. They’re caused when bits of food find a place to hide and are left to break down. Bacteria get involved and the whole mess turns into plaque biofilms which stick to your teeth. Given time, the bacteria produce acids in the plaque, eating away at your enamel and creating cavities. However, when you floss every day, you remove the plaque before it has a chance to do damage. Think about flossing as tidying up – don’t wait until the mess is too big to clean up.
Whenever I floss my teeth my gums start bleeding. Should I stop flossing?
No! Don’t stop! In fact, the problem is that you aren’t flossing enough. The bleeding usually indicates inflammation and the possibility of gum disease – you need to remove the source of the inflammation (i.e. plaque) and flossing is the best way to do it. Every day!