Flossing Fast Facts

Ah, flossing. The important task that only 16% of Americans say they do every day [1]. Why is flossing such a chore for us when it’s so important for our oral health? Here are some flossing fast facts that might change your mind in regard to whether or not you should pick up the floss during your oral care routine!

Flossing and Brushing Is More Effective Than Brushing Alone

Flossing helps remove plaque that builds up between teeth in places where your toothbrush can’t reach. Without being removed through flossing, this plaque can accumulate and cause tooth decay, gum disease, and chronic bad breath. Flossing combined with brushing helps remove much more plaque than brushing alone, giving you a truly clean smile that’s both healthy and beautiful [2].

Flossing May Help Your Heart

Oral bacteria have been found in the fatty deposits that cause atherosclerosis, which is a disease that causes hardening of the arteries and is the primary cause of heart attacks and strokes [3]. While researchers aren’t yet clear on the link between gum disease and heart disease, they do know that gum disease causes inflammation which could affect arteries.

So flossing doesn’t just help your smile—it may help your heart!

It Doesn’t Matter When You Floss

It doesn’t necessarily matter what time you floss as long as you’re flossing once every day. However, some experts suggest that flossing at night gives you the best results. Why? Because then you won’t sleep for the next several hours with plaque between your teeth. Regardless of what time you floss, be sure to floss before brushing your teeth: this will maximize your chances of removing the most plaque for a squeaky clean smile [4]!

Yes, You Do Need to Floss Behind That Last Tooth

When flossing, you do need to floss behind the last tooth in each row [5]. These would be the two teeth on the top in the back and the two teeth on the bottom in the back that do not touch another tooth. Since your toothbrush can’t effectively reach behind these teeth to brush, this is an easy place for plaque to build up. Floss behind these teeth for best results!

Take It Easy When Flossing

Just as with brushing, flossing your teeth gently is essential to prevent damage to gum tissue. If you haven’t flossed in a while, some minor bleeding while flossing is normal. However, your gums should adjust, and flossing should be comfortable after the first few times, as long as you’re being gentle!

Avoid “snapping” the floss in and out of your teeth. Instead, gently wiggle the floss in-between your teeth, then make a “C” shape, curving the floss around the tooth, and gently floss underneath the gumline.

When’s the Last Time You Flossed?

Flossing is an integral part of your oral care routine. Making flossing a habit is a must for a smile free of tooth decay and gum disease. When’s the last time you picked up the floss? Impress your dentist during your next visit with daily flossing!

Sources:
1. https://www.ada.org/en/publications/ada-news/2017-archive/october/new-survey-
highlights-unusual-flossing-habits
2. https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2016/11/dont-toss-floss
3. https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/heart-and-vascular-
blog/2019/march/gum-disease-and-heart-disease
4. https://www.perio.org/consumer/brush-or-floss-first
5. https://www.ada.org/~/media/ADA/Science%20and%20Research/Files/watch_material
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Summary
Flossing Fast Facts
Article Name
Flossing Fast Facts
Description
Why is flossing such a chore for us when it’s so important for our oral health? Here are some flossing fast facts that might change your mind in regard to whether or not you should pick up the floss during your oral care routine!
Author
First Impression Orthodontics