Flossing: do I have to?

Are you flossing regularly? It is probably a question you often hear at the dentist. 

We ask because we care! We don’t want to shame you; rather, we ask because we want you to achieve the best smile possible. 

Why can’t I just brush my teeth?

Brushing your teeth even twice a day isn’t enough to remove plaque and prevent cavities. Flossing needs to be part of your daily routine to protect your teeth and gums. 

How brushing and flossing work together

Every tooth has five surfaces. Your toothbrush can only reach three of the surfaces. The two surfaces sides of your teeth are hemmed in by other teeth making it hard to brush. Thankfully the other two can be reached by floss.

Why do you need to floss

Food can get stuck between your teeth. Plaque, the sticky, whitish-yellow film on your teeth, feeds on leftover food and sugar in your mouth. When you don’t floss, plaque builds up and hardens.

Thankfully cleaning between your teeth with floss remove food partials and plaque. 

When should I floss?

Our Penrith dentists recommend that you should floss once a day. Generally, the best time to floss is in the evening after brushing your teeth.

What flossing technique should I use?

According to the Australian Dental Association, flossing is a simple 3 step process.

1/ Wind approximately 45 cm of floss around your middle fingers. Grip the floss tightly between your thumbs and index fingers. Keep the thumb and index close together. 

2/ Hold the floss between your thumb and index finger. Gently guide the floss between the teeth.

3/ Use a gentle up-and-down C motion that goes down one side of the tooth, just under the little collar of gum and then back up the other side.

Should flossing hurt?

It’s important to note flossing should not be painful. You may notice some blood when you first start, but that should stop after a few days. Conversely, if you are too gentle, you may not be removing food and plague. 

You may feel discomfort when you first start flossing. Don’t give up, as twice-daily brushing and flossing should ease it in a week. If you continue to feel pain, see your dentist. 

Regular dental check-ups in Penrith

See your Penrith dentist regularly for check-ups. Our friendly dentists will examine and clean your teeth. Plus, our dentists can check that your flossing technique is removing all your plaque. Contact our relaxed dental team on (02) 4726 5400 to book your dental check-up today.