Facts And Myths About Flossing

Flossing teeth sounds like it should come easily, given that we’ve all heard from childhood how important it is. More than one in every two adults suffer from gum disease, though, which is influenced by how often one flosses. Clearly there is a disconnect between knowing one needs to floss and actually flossing every day.

Perhaps the primary roadblock to effective flossing is misinformation around the practice. Here are some facts and common myths about flossing teeth.

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Busting The Top Myths About Flossing Teeth

Myth #1: “It doesn’t matter whether or not I floss my teeth.”

Fact: The most dedicated tooth brushing routine cannot clean every surface of your teeth. Skipping flossing encourages tooth decay and gum disease. Severe gum disease has been associated with heart disease, oral HPV infection, oral cancer, diabetes, and kidney failure.

Myth #2: “It’s really difficult to keep remembering to floss regularly.”

Fact: Flossing teeth is really about forming a habit. Positive habits can be embedded in your routine by following a few simple steps. There are many good guides to forming healthy habits online; this one focuses specifically on how to become a daily flosser.

Myth #3: “The only effective tool to floss teeth is dental floss.”

Fact: There are several other proven options to clean between your teeth, including water flossing and interdental brushes. The key is to find a method that works for you and stick with it.

Myth #4: “You should always floss after brushing.”

Fact: Actually, recent research calls into question the idea that you should floss after brushing. An article in the May 2018 Journal of Periodontology concludes that flossing first may allow fluoride toothpaste to be better retained in teeth if flossing comes first. The flossing-first regimen can also be more effective at removing plaque and debris from the teeth and gums than brushing first.

“Don’t let myths about flossing teeth get in the way of developing this crucial habit,” says Dr. Carol Ford, a cosmetic dentist practicing in central Phoenix and the founder of Dr. Carol Ford & Associates. “Our staff is happy to answer any questions you may have about how, when, or why you should floss.”

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