Dentist chairs are consistently rated as one of the most uncomfortable places to sit: right in between a metal bench on a sunny day and a chair with uneven legs. Most people would sheepishly admit to not exercising as much dental hygiene as they should. And then there are the people who enthusiastically boast about flossing two, three or more times a day.
A dentist from Flossing shared this shocking story:
One of my first patients was a young man, early 20s who had beautiful teeth, nary a cavity, but, strangely, all the gum tissue between his teeth, the gingival papillae, were “punched out”, gone, depressed. Yet, his gingival tissue was pink, firm and healthy.
I noted this to him and asked if he was aware of the condition. He replied, “Oh yes, you see, I was told by my former dentist that I should use dental floss because it prevented cavities. So, I figured if a little floss was good, a lot was better. So, you see, I tie knots in the floss and pull it through to make sure I get the teeth good and clean.”
I looked him straight in the eye and said, “My advice to you, young man (we were probably the same age) is to throw out your floss, never use it again; but if you do use it, don’t tie any knots, just put it through the contact, and for heaven’s sake, don’t saw, just move it up and down against the fronts and backs of the teeth. You’re doing yourself more harm than good.”
So one person had a bad experience… why should I stop flossing [enter excessive amount] of times per day?
Everything in moderation. That includes dental hygiene. In theory, flossing twice or more each day is best. In reality, flossing is a pretty energy intensive task, especially for the majority who have tightly packed teeth.
Because it is an intensive task, there is a tendency to floss vigoroulsy and quickly in an attempt to get it done without too much time or effort. Do you find yourself:
- Flossing in a back and forth handsaw motion?
- Quickly flossing?
- Accidentally causing your gums to bleed?
All of these signs prove your flossing is not only ineffective, but damaging. This results in people wearing down their gums and causing permanent damage.
Furthermore there was once a prisoner who used floss to break through his cell and escape. This shows that anything, with the right amount of friction, can be powerful. So you could essentially be using something strong enough to break iron on your teeth.
Eek… time to ditch the floss!
Savvy people do not floss twice a day. But they do floss as part of a balanced dental hygeine regime. Savvy people do not base their dental hygiene on numbers and time; rather they go for quality rather than quantity.
Not flossing is bad, flossing ineffectively is worse. Instead you should channel your inner Goldilocks and find what’s just right. And for most, this is flossing once a day at night using gentle circular motions.
Plaque that will build up between your teeth takes about 24 hours to form. Flossing once a day is more than enough to keep that area cleared. However is this a rule that should be followed strictly?
Like I said before, savvy people understand quality is more important than quantity. If you already flossed today and munched on a cob of corn, it doesn’t mean you need to wait 24 hours before flossing again. Uh, that would be gross! You are free to floss again after those ningly foods. But like I said, everything in moderation.