If You Have to Choose Between Brushing or Flossing…

  • Nov 20 2018

If I don’t have time to brush and floss my teeth, which is more important to do?

Everyone knows the importance of good oral hygiene, but no one really likes to do it. Brushing and flossing multiple times per day can easily get old, and it isn’t hard to imagine considering cutting back a bit. Maybe skipping the floss routine and just stick with brushing because it makes your mouth feel clean, whereas you’re not always sure flossing is worth the effort.

Would it be such an awful thing to give up flossing? Maybe ask your dentist at your next office visit if it would be a big deal to pass on flossing as long as you remain consistent with brushing. Seriously? Can you not already hear the response? Every tooth in your mouth has five surfaces, and, when you brush, you only reach three of them. What’s more, the two surfaces that you don’t clean when brushing are the very ones where food particles and bacteria love to set up housekeeping. No one is arguing about the importance of brushing, but flossing does 40% of the cleaning by getting into the areas between the teeth that a tooth brush simply cannot reach.

Bacteria and plaque buildup can lead to cavities and gum disease. Unless you can figure out a way to live on nothing more than tap water, you are going to have to constantly contend with bacteria and plague. We expect all of our favorite snack foods, like candy, cookies, chips and popcorn to be prime suspects when it comes to dental problems, but we can add foods like apples, carrots, corn on the cob and even beef jerky to the list. Wine and other forms of alcohol are high in sugar, so it is not surprising to find them on the list of things to avoid if we want to protect the enamel on our teeth, but super healthy foods like oranges, grapefruits and other citrus fruits are right there beside them. Soda, coffee, fruit juice, sports drinks and even tea present problems.

Dental floss has been around for quite a while. Credit for its invention is usually given to a dentist in Louisiana when he suggested that his patients try sliding a silk thread between their teeth to remove particles of trapped food. This was in the early 1800s, and, since then, a succession of companies have successfully marketed various forms of dental floss. Some of the more common types in use today include:

  • Unwaxed floss – this nylon floss is ultra-thin and made to fit into tight spaces between teeth that are especially close together
  • Waxed floss – the waxed coating on the nylon makes it glide between teeth and adds strength, although the added thickness can prevent it from getting between those teeth that are closer together
  • Dental tape – this is a strip of nylon, polythene fiber or even Teflon that may be waxed or unwaxed and is often preferred when there is more space between teeth
  • Super flosses – these consist of a yarn-like material and sections have firm or stiff ends that are useful for cleaning around bridges or with braces

Is there one type of floss that is better than another? Actually, there is. The one that you will consistently use every day.

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Categories: Dental Health