Flossing, How Often Should I Do It? Am I Doing Enough?

Flossing, How Often Should I Do It, Am I Doing Enough

Taking care of your oral hygiene is of the utmost importance.

Afterall, the mouth is a delicate environment that needs special care to avoid problems such as decay and gum disease.

In this article, we discuss the most suitable oral hygiene regimen as recommended by dentists. And we answer that one question that has been on many people’s mind “Dental Flossing, how often should I do it?”

Flossing, how often should it be done?

Experts recommend flossing 2 to 3 times per week, using either traditional string floss or other more modern means such as water flossers.

The reason behind this particular recommendation is as follows:

  • Less than 2 times per week: If you floss only once per week, you are simply not doing it enough. The plaque and bacteria take only a few hours to develop and in those difficult to reach areas between the teeth, their activity is tenfold. If these food remnants and bacteria are left without cleaning for more than 3 days, they start to harden. This how calculus is formed which can no longer be cleaned by floss. You will need a dentist’s intervention for a proper cleaning.
  • More than 3 times per week: While flossing is highly recommended, and a patient who flosses is a fan favorite with their dentist, do not overdo it. If you floss once daily or more than 3 times per week, you risk injuring your gums. People who floss more than the recommended amount almost always complain of pain between their teeth. As well as a burning sensation in their gums, and bleeding even though apparently they don’t have any gum inflammation. That is because overdoing flossing – particularly when using string floss – could cause cuts and bruises to the gums.
  • 2 or 3 times per week: This number is not arbitrary. As explained before, it takes 72 hours for the plaque and food remnants to harden and turn into calculus that is much more difficult to clean. It is loaded with bacteria that could cause a variety of diseases ranging from gum disease to decay and even eventually bone loss. When you attempt to floss every 2 or 3 days (making a total of 3 times a week) you interrupt this cycle of calculus formation. Therefore the chances of developing hard calculus deposits become minimal.

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Why should I use dental floss?

The main aim of flossing is to reach the areas between the teeth that the toothbrush is simply not equipped to clean. All methods of flossing are directed towards these areas, whether by using traditional string floss or the more advanced water flosser.

Flossing becomes exponentially more important if you have a crown or bridge on your teeth, and virtually indispensable if you have braces. In these cases, the food and bacteria build up become even more dangerous, since natural teeth have ways of cleaning themselves. But not artificial structures.

We know it is quite easy to pass a piece of string between natural teeth, but very difficult to do so with a bridge. It is impossible to do with braces, yet very important for your oral hygiene.

Risks of not flossing enough

While the toothbrush is the main weapon in your fight against decay and gum disease, it certainly cannot fight alone. So should you brush teeth or floss first? It really doesn’t matter the sequence, as long as you do both.

Brushing is recommended 2 times daily, in addition to using a therapeutic or Fluoridated mouthwash. Ask your dentist about their recommendations for your particular case. Lastly but certainly not least, comes the forgotten act of flossing.

If you don’t floss here are the risks to be aware of.

Gum Disease

Inflammation of the gums always starts between the teeth and finds its way to the rest of the gums later. That is because of the areas between the teeth that could not be reached by the brush.

The first signs of gum disease is flattening and swelling of the interdental papillae. These are the pyramid shaped projections of gums between the teeth which are usually pointed and pale pink. But become flattened and red with gum disease.

Periodontal pockets also happen in these same areas. Without proper care could lead to full blown periodontal disease with the unfortunate consequences of sensitivity, pain, mobility and ultimately loss of


You might think that brushing alone is enough to stop or limit the process of decay. You could not be more wrong. As you know by now, brushing does not clean the areas between the teeth. More often than not, decay could develop in these areas.

The difficulty of this situation is that this type of decay – unlike traditional decay that appears on the surface – is invisible, because the outer layer is seemingly intact. This decay continues to grow and eat away at the teeth, eventually reaching the nerve of the tooth and causing severe pain that would require root canal treatment.

Bad breath

Some people brush regularly and use a flavored toothpaste. Yet they complain of a horrible smelling breath. That is because of two things.

First, the food remnants on the tongue that was not cleaned properly.

Second because of the food remnants stuck between the teeth, which could only be cleaned by flossing. Bad breath odor is a result of bacteria fermenting the food particles that are trapped in the spaces between the teeth.

Flossing teeth how often, answered!

To summarize, oral hygiene is definitely incomplete without flossing. That is because the toothbrush takes care of three surfaces of the tooth, the inner, outer and top surfaces. But only flossing can fully reach those side surfaces between the teeth.

Remember, while flossing is incredibly important, over flossing could be just as bad (if not worse) than not flossing at all. So if you’re still contemplating the question of “Flossing, how often is best?”, now you have your answer.

Have You Ever Tried a Water Flosser? 

String floss can be a pain and cause unsightly gum bleeding. A water flosser is more effective in removing plaque and also easy to use. Making it a perfect oral health addition for the family. View our best water flosser buyers guide here. 

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