My dentist is always telling me I should floss. It’s a part of their farewell to me as I walk out the door, “Thanks for coming in, don’t forget to floss!” We hear it all the time, but we always wonder–why is flossing important?
Why Does My Dentist Tell Me to Floss?
Earlier this year, there were a lot of questions surrounding the necessity of flossing. When the government neglected to include flossing as a part of their 2015 Dietary Guidelines, many people interpreted that to mean that the government was saying flossing really isn’t important. In reality, The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee was just choosing to focus on food and nutrient intake, so they removed the flossing guidelines.
Since these developments, both the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the ADA have reaffirmed the importance of flossing in maintaining a healthy mouth. The ADA recommends flossing once per day, in order to get rid of the plaque that avoids your toothbrush and gets left to harden.
When to floss
The ADA says that the most important part of flossing is just taking the time to do it. It doesn’t really matter whether you do it before you brush or after, as long as you do it, and you take the time to do it right.
You should start flossing your child’s teeth when they have two teeth that touch, because they start accumulating plaque as soon as they have teeth, so you need to make sure you get the space between their teeth clean. You may have to help your children floss until they are old enough to have the coordination to do it without hurting themselves.
Now you know why your dentist always reminds you to floss every time you see them. Without cleaning between your teeth everyday, you’re only preventing some of the problems that plaque buildup can cause. You’re neglecting a whole part of your mouth! Remember to floss–your mouth will thank you.