Common excuses people give for not flossing range from not having time to not knowing how to do it to just plain forgetfulness.
Does this statistic surprise you? Are you in the nearly 95% of the US that don’t floss their teeth? Despite some research results released in 2016 that suggested flossing might be unnecessary, subsequent reports have emphasized that the benefits outweigh the risks and that dentists should encourage everyone to floss regularly.
Yet myths about flossing persist. Here are some common ones, as well as the factual explanations debunking those myths.
Facts About Floss and Floss Products
- Dental floss is used primarily to prevent gingivitis (gum disease) and tooth decay from plaque buildup.
- Originally made of silk threads, floss is now composed of nylon or plastic filaments.
- Whether waxed or unwaxed, there’s no evidence of a difference in effectiveness.
- Floss can be flavored, with mint being the most common choice.
- Additional products include floss holders, floss picks, and floss threaders.
Common Myths About Flossing
Myth One: Flossing is bad for my gums. After all, they bleed every time I try.
Fact: Your gums usually will only bleed at first, especially if you don’t floss regularly. Once they become accustomed to flossing (don’t do it too hard!), they should be less likely to bleed from sensitivity. However, if you continue to floss regularly and your gums bleed each time, then you should contact your dentist.
Myth Two: I should only floss when I have food in my teeth.
Fact: Regarding plaque:
Plaque is the main cause of gum disease. It is an invisible bacterial film that develops on your teeth every day. Within 24 to 36 hours, plaque hardens into tartar (also called calculus), which can only be removed by professional cleaning. Floss at least once a day, and plaque never gets the chance to harden into tartar.
Myth Three: Mouthwash accomplishes the same thing as flossing.
Fact: You simply can’t get the same results using mouthwash. While it may rinse away some food particles and make your mouth feel cleaner, it isn’t as effective at cleaning between the teeth.
Myth Four: Flossing is too hard.
Fact: With proper instruction and practice, flossing your teeth can become an easy daily habit. Ask your hygienist to show you the proper technique, or consult one of the many online dental health resources. Tools like floss holders can help you get to those hard to reach places.
Myth Five: I should not floss if I have braces, fillings, or crowns.
Fact: It may be difficult at first, but you can’t afford to wait until your braces are removed to start flossing. Flossing shouldn’t impact fillings and crowns in good condition. If they loosen or fall out, it’s an indication that they already needed to be replaced. In either case, ask your dentist how to floss properly if you’re worried.
Myth Six: Young children don’t need to floss their teeth.
Fact: WebMD recommends: “Start flossing your child’s teeth once a day as soon as two teeth emerge that touch. The use of floss sticks or picks instead of regular string floss may be easier for both you and your child.”
Don’t let these six common myths keep you from protecting your oral health.
Make flossing part of your routine by doing the following:
- Flossing at the same time each day.
- Keeping dental floss in a convenient, visible location.
- Getting the whole family involved.
- Asking your dentist for tips and advice.
At Simply Beautiful, we recommend a routine oral exam every six months. Contact us today to book your appointment.