I’ve asked patients this question for years. The answers vary, from “twenty seconds” to “ten minutes”. One gentleman told me “about three weeks”, because he only uses floss when he feels food caught between his teeth!
Despite what toothbrush ads and commercials show you, a single bristle cannot gently glide between your teeth! Only dental floss manually removes plaque from those two sides of your five-sided tooth and, most importantly, slides under the gum line to remove the bacteria that is hiding and multiplying. Different strains of these bacteria cause cavities or gum disease, painlessly, over time. And, because bacteria are “invisible” unless under magnification, you don’t realize that flossing actually removes the culprit.
If you experience dental floss breaking when you floss, it is usually because there is a rough filling in this spot. Sometimes waxed dental floss solves the problem and, occasionally, I can smooth out the filling. I recommend unwaxed floss to most patients because it is more efficient at trapping the bacteria, but I don’t care which you use.
Back to my original question. If daily flossing takes you less than 30 seconds to do your entire mouth, you should slow down and go for accuracy. If it takes you 90 seconds, you are fighting off gum disease and decay. And if it takes you 2-3 minutes, you deserve a gold star.
Remember: If you ignore your teeth, they’ll go away.
Contact Winterset Dental today to find out which treatment is right for you.