Is it a Big Deal if I Don’t Floss?

flossing daily

Sciota, Pennsylvania

What is it about flossing that seems to deter so many people from keeping up with it on a regular basis? It’s an important part of a daily oral hygiene regime, but according to a national study, only 30 percent of Americans floss daily. Our family dentists in Sciota, just like all other dentists, recommend brushing your teeth twice a day — once after breakfast and once before bed — and flossing once daily, preferably after your last meal of the day.

Why floss?

An irregular or non-existent flossing schedule leaves a person susceptible to tooth decay. Brushing is great for ridding teeth surfaces of bacteria and food debris, but the bristles of a brush are limited in their ability to reach between teeth, where bacteria love to hide. This becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, which turns into plaque and eventually tartar — all precursors to tooth decay and gum disease. Flossing also dislodges food particles that get stuck between teeth and cause bad breath.

Mouthwash vs. floss

Mouthwash should be used in addition to floss — not as a substitute for it. Our Sciota family dentists encourage incorporating mouth rinses into a daily oral hygiene routine because it promotes strong oral health and fresh breath. However, mouthwash does not accomplish what flossing does, so it isn’t a suitable substitute. Flossing requires a gentle scraping motion that removes bacteria, food and plaque from hard-to-reach places. Mouthwashes swish between the teeth but don’t remove buildup like floss.

How about water flossers?

We strongly recommend water flossers for cleaning underneath dental prosthetics such as bridges, implants and braces. But the overall impact on tooth cleanliness is similar to using mouthwash: Water flossers are great for removing large chunks of food debris to make flossing more effective. But they aren’t as effective as floss at reaching the food and bacteria lodged deep between the teeth.

Family Dentist in Sciota, PA

Flossing daily significantly reduces your risk of developing cavities and gum disease. It also removes food debris that contributes to bad breath. Another part of a strong oral hygiene regime is visiting our family dentists twice a year for a checkup and cleaning. Routine flossing at home will make your gums less sensitive during those cleanings. Perhaps you’re wondering if you’re flossing correctly, or maybe it’s time to schedule your next checkup. We can help. Give us a call at Chestnuthill Dental at (570) 865-7929, or reach us online today.

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