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Flossing has been a long-standing partner to brushing teeth. We brush for 2 minutes, twice a day, and floss once a day. But why? Why is flossing so important?

Flossing serves to scrape plaque from in between teeth. Plaque is a sticky substance filled with bacteria. These bacteria produce acids that eat away at tooth enamel, eventually exposing the root and making the tooth susceptible to decay and tooth failure.

Some have asked if it is better to floss before or after you brush. The answer is: it doesn’t matter! The most important thing about flossing or other interdental cleaning is that it gets done, once a day, no matter what.

Some people have a hard time with conventional flossing techniques, especially if you have braces or dental bridges. In this case, water flossing might be a good idea. It can also be great if you have trouble flossing by hand due to arthritis or other condition. If you continue to have trouble with the habit of flossing, try different styles (flavored floss, or comfort floss, for example) or cleaners until you find one that works for you. There are many options available to you for cleaning between your teeth: dental floss, a dental pick, a wooden plaque remover, or a pre-strung flosser. If you choose to use a wooden plaque remover, talk to your dentist about how to use it safely so you don’t injure tender gum tissues.

Flossing should not be painful! It is normal for some discomfort to be present when you are first starting out, but if the pain persists for more than a week or two, call your dentist. Dr. Victor Zeines

Call Woodstock & Manhattan Institute for Holistic Dentistry at 845-657-2322 and ask your dentist about the best interdental cleaner for you.