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Floss Your Way To Fabulous

Tips on flossing and keeping your teeth and gums healthy.

Candy canes, gingerbread men and hot chocolate are not only hard to resist, but also hard to avoid this time of year.

Moms and Dads will be reminding their kiddies to brush extra during this time of year but should they be reminding them to floss, too?

It is very important to floss at least once a day to remove food trapped between the teeth and the film of bacteria that forms to keep a healthy mouth. Around the holidays it is especially important not to forget to floss as all the sugar can damage your enamel causing dental cavities and tooth decay.

Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there. Like our friend the Grinch hiding on top of Mount Crumpit, the harmful bacteria in our mouths cannot always be seen. This complex bacterial ecosystem is to blame for tooth decay and gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease. Even if you’re not one to get food stuck in your teeth it is still crucial to floss as it is the only effective way to remove the bacteria and plaque from in between your teeth.

Now that I’ve convinced you to floss for at least the month of December, let’s review some technique. Is it better to floss before or after brushing? It is my professional opinion that there is no difference between flossing before or after brushing. But it is my personal preference to floss first and brush second so that I am able to remove the debris and then brush and rinse,”  

The official American Dental Association agrees with my point of view in that flossing before or after brushing does not matter. However, flossing before you brush allows for fuller coverage and penetration of the fluoride in your toothpaste to the spaces in between your teeth.

While Christmas only comes once a year, flossing comes once a day. Is it better to floss in the morning or at night? Flossing before bed can render the best results. While asleep, conditions for oral bacteria growth are most favorable. It is because of this fact that flossing at night is advisable.

Some of my patients say that they prefer to floss at bedtime because they have more time and they like feeling their mouth is nice and clean before hopping into bed for a good night’s rest. If adding the time it takes to floss to your morning or night time routine is your issue there is no harm in flossing your top teeth in the morning and bottom teeth at night, as long as you don’t forget.

Even if you have the willpower to resist all the tasty holiday treats, if you don’t you’ll have more to worry about than getting coal in your stocking. So, if all you want for Christmas is to keep your two front teeth, it’s time to make flossing a part of your daily routine.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Melissa Secore December 29, 2012 at 02:23 PM
Floss 1st, Brush 2nd. At least I have a strategy now... Weird how it only takes 30 seconds but I keep blocking it out.
Matt T January 04, 2013 at 11:13 AM
Yeah, same here, Melissa. Flossing needs to become a part of my daily teeth cleaning routine.
Anne Lawrence September 16, 2013 at 01:23 PM
My dentist in Etobicoke (http://www.eastmalldental.com) also says that it doesn't matter whether you floss before or after brushing. I'm with you, though, in that I like doing it beforehand.

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