You’ve heard again and again how important flossing is and how you should make it a daily habit…but the truth is, flossing does take time and who has time to floss when brushing for the recommended two minutes is already pressing it?
As the obligatory reiteration of what your dentist and hygienist are always lecturing you about, flossing is important because there are areas that the tooth-brush bristles just cannot reach and clean – namely the sides of the teeth where they butt up against each other. If not cleaned using floss, plaque and debris collect and fester and these areas become highly prone to cavities. Over time, plaque and calculus build up between teeth can also cause bone loss and periodontal disease.
Many people forego flossing because it can be “time-consuming,” the floss can be uncomfortably wrapped around fingers seemingly cutting off circulation, floss can leave hands feeling grimy, the gums will bleed, and it can be hard to reach the areas all the way back in the mouth.
There are marketed products out there, such as the water picks or “flossers” that are helpful in flushing out large chunks of debris from between teeth, but they cannot remove all the plaque that’s actually stuck to the sides of the teeth. This plaque is only removed by manually scrubbing these surfaces with floss. While the use of these water flossers is better than nothing, there is still no comparison to regular, old-fashioned flossing.
A great tip for patients is to try and find a convenient and regular time to floss. Many people are tired at night and just want to quickly brush and hop into bed, and flossing will again unfortunately have to wait until another night. We find that this is not a particularly consistent and convenient time to floss, so we suggest finding another time in the day – whether it is while watching a TV show, reading a book, or our personal favorite – in the shower. Really, flossing in the shower makes so much sense. Most people shower on a daily basis (so that will automatically make flossing more regular), your grimy-feeling hands will immediately be cleaned with soap and water (which you’re standing in already), and you can immediately rinse that blood-tinged taste out of your mouth (using the water that is already running down).
Check out the video of our brilliant tip in action!