Floss First

Floss dance photo
Photo by permanently scatterbrained
Can you Floss? It’s more than a dance move, it’s a critical piece of your daily oral hygiene routine. In spite of the importance of flossing, the ADA estimates that only 12% of Americans floss daily.

But why floss? Why is interdental cleaning important? Very simply, brushing doesn’t clean all of your teeth. Each tooth has 5 accessible surfaces, Vestibular (the outer part that faces the cheek or lips), lingual (the side that faces the tongue), occlusal (the biting surface of the teeth) and two proximal (the sides of the tooth that are adjacent to each other). Now your dentist may use these terms or some others that are more specific to particular teeth, just like any area of study, dentistry has some very specific words professionals use. The point is, that your toothbrush can only reach 3 of these 5 sides of a tooth. The proximal sides, the parts that are up against other teeth, just don’t get cleaned. Even though we can’t clean them with a brush, debris, food particles and bacteria will get lodged in there and promote tooth decay.

Popularity of the Floss

In May of 2017 “flossing” became an expanded part of the vernacular. On the season finale of SNL, while Katy Perry was performing, a kid with a backpack took the stage and introduced America to a new dance move. The Floss.

In the summer of 2017 this move swept the nation and flossing is still popular. All this notoriety has had the benefit of bringing and important dental hygiene technique back to everyone’s mind.

Flossing Before Brushing

When should you floss? Before you brush? After you brush? Getting in deep with the floss seems like an activity that makes more sense in a clean mouth, who wants to stick their fingers in there when that mouth is dirty? In spite of what might be your natural inclination, a new study has found that you should actually floss BEFORE you brush. Flossing first can loosen bacteria and food debris from the spaces in between teeth. Flossing before brushing can make brushing more effective and remove more plaque from your teeth.

Interdental cleaning can help keep gums healthy and eliminate risks possibly increased by having gum disease and bacteria in the mouth. Brushing twice a day isn’t enough, take a few minutes and floss before you brush.

Dan Matthews DDS
Dan Matthews Dan Matthews DDS The Park at Eanes Creek,
4407 Bee Cave Road
Building 2, Suite 221
Austin, Texas, 78746
(512) 452-2273
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