How Often to Brush and Floss?

By surveying my new patients on the subject of brushing and flossing, I realized that the general public does not really know how many times they should brush daily and especially how many times they should floss. The very few who know(about 5%) do not follow what they know all the time.

Basically there are not set in stone rules on how much brushing and flossing everyone needs, because everyone’s mouth is different and needs different care. But, for a stable mouth with no active gum disese or active decay, it is recommended to brush twice a day(after breakfast and after dinner) and to floss the same time.

For a person treated for gum disease, brushing and flossing should follow each meal and also the use of proxibushes( very small, conical brushes that fit into the enlarged spaces between the teeth). A person with non treated gum disease should be treated right away before even talking about brushing and flossing. The treatment of gum disease is an emergency because of the infective potential on the whole body that it has.

A person very prone to dental cavities(because of a diet very high in carbohydrates , saliva reducing medications, deficiencies of enamel layer, existing and not treated active cavities) should also brush and floss after each meal.

When should I floss? Before or after brushing?

You can do it before brushing or you can do it after brushing but before the final rinse. This is my favorite sequence, because you can brush, fill your mouth with foam and fluoride, spit the excess tooth paste, floss so the remaining tooth paste and fluoride can be tucked in between the teeth for better cleaning and fluoridation. After that you can do the final rinse with water or oral rinse( my personal favorite is ACT with fluoride and no alcohol).

What is the purpose of brushing and flossing?

What most of the people think it is just the removal of food debris. It is partially true. But the main purpose is the removal of plaque which is responsible for the formation of calculus( born from long term plaque that absorbs calcium and becomes solid, impossible to remove using floss or brush) which extends deeper under the gums causing gingivitis and periodontitis. The plaque being very acid chelates the calcium from the enamel causing cavities.

If you feel you have more questions please feel free to contact my dental office in Washington Township, NJ 08080 at 856-582-2220 to schedule a FREE CONSULTATION. I would be happy to meet you and assist you with any concerns.