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Flossing: is it really necessary?

While our Victoria dentists recommend that patients brush their teeth at least twice a day, and floss once per day, some people choose to skip flossing for numerous reasons. In this post, we explain why flossing is important and why you should avoid skipping it.

The Importance of Flossing

Preventive oral hygiene is about more than attending regular dental exams and cleanings. It also means diligently practicing our daily oral health routines at home, such as brushing and flossing regularly. 

Flossing once per day is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gum line. Cleaning these spaces helps to keep plaque from building up and prevents issues such as cavities, bad breath and gum disease. 

Many myths about flossing abound that can cause people to skip out on this vital oral healthcare practice altogether. 

Today, our dentists will debunk some myths about flossing and explain why you should never skip this important practice. 

Myth: You only need to floss if you have food stuck in your teeth.

Because brushing doesn't remove bacteria between the teeth, only part of the tooth surface gets cleaned. Even if you don't feel or see something stuck between your teeth, plaque is accumulating that can only be removed by flossing to prevent issues such as bad breath, gum disease and cavities. 

Myth: You can use mouthwash instead of floss.

Like brushing, mouthwash doesn't remove the plaque between your teeth. While mouthwash can be an effective supplement to your oral health care routine, it should never be used as a replacement for flossing.

Myth: You can't floss if you are wearing braces.

It may be more difficult to floss if you have traditional metal braces, but it is still necessary. Flossing will help keep your gum line clean and free from plaque buildup during your orthodontic treatment. Today, there are also alternative orthodontic treatment options, like Invisalign clear aligners, that can be removed for brushing and flossing to make the process easier.

Myth: Your children are too young to floss.

The earlier kids start flossing teeth, the more likely they will be to maintain good oral health care routines into adulthood. If it is difficult for them to floss on their own, try encouraging them and helping them along the way. If your child is under 10 years old, you can floss for them.

Myth: Your gums bleed when you floss, so you should stop.

If your gums bleed during flossing, this is usually a sign you need to floss more often. The more you floss, the less your gums are likely to bleed. If your gums are bleeding continually, even after regular flossing, then it could be a sign of another dental issue such as periodontal disease, so be sure to share any concerns with your dentist.

To learn more about flossing, or to schedule an exam and cleaning, contact Vic West Dentistry to schedule an appointment with one of our Victoria Dentists.

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