5 Common Myths About Flossing

Only flossing can remove the plaque and bacteria between your teeth, which is about one-third of your total tooth surface. Imagine washing only the same two-thirds of your car over and over - would you ever feel like your car was really clean?

Despite a report released in 2016 claiming the evidence supporting daily flossing of teeth was weak, most dentists know from everyday, hands-on experience that flossing is critical to effective dental hygiene.

Flossing removes the plaque and bacteria that you cannot remove with your toothbrush alone. Plaque, the primary cause of gum disease, is an invisible bacterial film that coats your teeth and hardens into tartar within 24-36 hours. You can remove plaque with brushing and flossing, but tartar can only be removed by your dentist, so it’s best to avoid it. Flossing once a day, and brushing your teeth twice a day will keep your gums, and consequently your teeth, healthy.

Flossing is hard to do and takes too long.

Initially, flossing can feel awkward and time-consuming. It will get easier each time until, as reported by many people, you can literally do it with your eyes closed! It is a small investment of time for healthier gums and teeth.

However, if you find the traditional way of flossing too challenging, there are various varieties of floss holders on the market that make flossing easier to manage and make it easier to reach your back teeth.  

Flossing hurts.

Flossing may be a little uncomfortable and there may be some minor bleeding at first if you haven’t flossed regularly. As your gums become healthier, and if you are flossing properly, the discomfort and bleeding will stop. Talk with your dentist about the best way to floss and if you are having prolonged discomfort.


Flossing damages my gums and makes them bleed

Flossing correctly and consistently should actually prevent gum disease and the possibility of bleeding. Flossing cleans out debris and bacteria from below the gumline. Initially, you may notice some bleeding but after you’ve been flossing for several weeks (and assuming you are not flossing too hard) your gums should not bleed. Bleeding can signal some potential problems so you should schedule an appointment with your dentist.

Flossing can cause my cavities to fall out

If your fillings and dental work such as bridges and crowns are in good condition, flossing will not make them fall out. In fact, flossing can alert you to issues with your dental work you would not otherwise be aware of. If you notice your dental work feels loose, or if pieces of filling are coming away from your tooth, schedule an appointment with your dentist.


My teeth are too close together to floss

Sometimes it may feel like your teeth are too close together to floss. This is not a good reason to avoid flossing and there are several ways you can address this issue. One way is with technique - try seesawing the floss back and forth while pressing down gently between your teeth. Another approach is to try various types of floss. Some flosses are waxed, some are thinner and some are flat (called dental tape) so you should be able to find a floss that will work for you.

Despite the fact that flossing cleans one-third of your teeth, it actually removes about 40% of the plaque and bacteria. It is well worth a few minutes a day to preserve your oral health.

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Want to find out more about how your daily routine could be impacting your dental health? Visit our clinic at 1141-3800 Memorial Drive NE, Calgary, AB T2A 2K2. Alternatively, you can contact us at (403) 248-2066 or fill in our online contact form.

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