When it comes to oral hygiene, there are many myths floating around that may cause confusion about what actually IS right, good for you, and necessary when it comes to your dental health. How often should you see your Chattanooga dentist? How many times a day should you brush your teeth and for how long? And then there’s flossing. What are the hard and fast rules about flossing your teeth? And what myths beg busting? Below are a few flossing myths your friends at Tedford Family Dentistry would like to debunk in effort to afford you some clarity on the subject.
ONE: You only need to floss if you have food stuck in your teeth.
OK, no. It’s certainly true that flossing comes in handy when you have annoying food particles stuck between your teeth; however, that’s not the sole purpose of this dental care task. Flossing your teeth does help to remove hard-to-reach particles, germs, and plaque or tartar from spaces your toothbrush might not adequately reach. You should really floss your teeth at least once a day, and generally right before bed works best. That way your mouth is clean for sleep– no lurking cavity-causing food particles hanging around.
TWO: Children don’t really need to floss.
Wrong again, friends. It is important for children to also floss their teeth! For the same reasons it’s important for adults, children can also get food stuck between their teeth that if left behind, can cause decay or other issues. Younger children will need help with the task! Generally kids around age 6 or 7 can start handling the flossing on their own. Teach them the ways early to help build a foundation for healthy dental habits that will become long term.
THREE: OUCH! Flossing is painful!
Honestly, if flossing your teeth is causing you pain, you’ll need to get in touch with your Chattanooga dentist. Flossing might be uncomfortable if you’re not used to it or already in the habit of flossing your teeth regularly. If you have some minor discomfort, it’s probably because you have not been flossing as often as you should. Try to form the good habit of flossing daily, and the discomfort should subside. That said, pain is an indicator of a problem.
FOUR: Flossing is difficult.
Flossing can be mildly awkward if you’re not accustomed to it, but it’s not difficult. It’s also something that takes next to no time at all once you get the technique right. The more you work it into your daily hygiene routine, the more adept you’ll become at accomplishing this critical task quickly. If you have a hard time reaching your very back molars, try Y-shaped floss picks or other interdental cleaners. In fact, interdental cleaners are great for cleaning properly around crowns and bridges, and generally hard-to-reach areas.
FIVE: There’s no wrong way to floss.
Wrong! There is a correct way to accomplish appropriate dental flossing, and if you’re not doing it correctly, you might be missing some food particles and plaque. Yikes! The most effective flossing method involves using roughly 18 inches of dental floss, winding it around the middle finger on each hand, and holding it between your thumbs and forefingers. Then you slide the floss up and down between two teeth, curving the floss around the top of each tooth, and gently flossing beneath the gumline to remove plaque, tartar, and left-behind food. When you move to clean between the next two teeth, shift the floss as well using a new area.
It’s important to make sure you have accurate information when it comes to your dental health. You’ve only got one set of permanent teeth, and it’s so critical to take every step to care for them well– from regular dental cleanings and exams to making healthy food and drink choices to brushing and proper flossing practices. We hope you found this list of overturned flossing myths informative and helpful. If you have questions or need to set up an appointment, get in touch with our Tedford Family Dentistry staff today! We’d love to help. P.S. Floss your teeth!