Markham Dental Smiles
4630 Hwy 7 #2 Unionville ON L3R 1M5 (905) 477-6453

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Unionville, ON
(905) 477-6453

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How Often Should You Floss

Maintaining optimal dental health is key to overall well-being, and flossing forms part of this routine. While brushing your teeth is an effective means to clean the surfaces of your teeth, flossing helps keep the interdental spaces and the gum line free of plaque and food particles. 

But how often should you floss? The Canadian Dental Association recommends flossing at least once a day to prevent cavities and gum disease. Your dentist can determine how when you should have a professional dental cleanings based on your overall dental health and oral hygiene, 

What Is Flossing Important?

Flossing is more than just an extra step in your dental care routine; it’s essential for removing plaque and bacteria to help maintain the health of your gums. Without flossing, you miss one-third of the tooth’s surface, and your toothbrush can’t clean hard-to-reach areas such as between the teeth or interdental spaces.   

Flossing can remove plaque and bacteria from these areas to help maintain the health of your gums and prevent the buildup of bacteria that can lead to more serious dental issues, such as:

  • Gum disease: Regular flossing removes plaque before it hardens into tartar (only removed by professional cleaning), reducing your risk of developing gum disease and periodontal disease.
  • Cavities: Interdental cavities are more likely to form in areas where plaque accumulates. By cleaning between your teeth, flossing helps prevent cavities that can form in these hard-to-reach areas.
  • Bad breath: Bad breath can result from food particles and bacteria trapped between teeth. Removing these odour-causing elements helps maintain fresher breath. 

Common Misconceptions About Flossing Frequency

There are several misconceptions surrounding how often one should floss:

  • Flossing once a week is enough to maintain oral health: Infrequent flossing does not effectively prevent plaque buildup or gum disease.
  • Flossing is only necessary when food is stuck: While flossing is excellent for removing trapped food, it eliminates plaque and bacteria between the teeth and from under the gumline. Regular flossing is necessary to prevent dental health issues, regardless of whether food is visibly stuck.
  • Flossing is optional if you brush well: Even brushing well or using the right toothbrush can’t reach the tight spaces between your teeth. Flossing complements brushing by addressing areas that can otherwise go neglected.

How Often Should You Floss?

The Canadian Dental Association recommends flossing at least once a day to remove plaque, bacteria, and food debris, keeping your teeth and gums healthy.

Why at least once a day? Plaque can form within hours of eating and harden into tartar within 24 to 36 hours, making daily flossing crucial to prevent its buildup. Regular flossing stimulates the gums, promoting better blood circulation and reducing inflammation. Consistent flossing helps prevent gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease, which can lead to more severe periodontal issues if left untreated.

When Should You Floss?

Flossing when you brush your teeth, either in the morning or at night, can make it more convenient, and there’s a lower chance of forgetting. Another question many people ask is, should you floss before or after brushing? 

It can depend on what you prefer. However, the conclusion of one study in the Journal of Periodontology determined that flossing before brushing reduces interdental plaque and helps increase fluoride concentration in interdental plaque. 

Proper Flossing Technique

The flossing technique is important as incorrect flossing or too much pressure can damage the teeth and gums. Here is an ideal flossing technique

  • Break off a piece of floss equal to the length from your hand to shoulder.
  • Wind the floss around your middle fingers and leave about 5 cm between them.
  • Use index fingers and thumbs to guide the floss and slide it between teeth.
  • Move the floss up or down to reach the gumline, then curve and gently slip it under the gum next to the tooth.
  • To clean surfaces between teeth, move floss tightly against each tooth.
  • Use a clean piece of floss for each space between teeth.

Practical Tips for Making Flossing a Habit

A close-up of a woman flossing her bottom teeth with a floss pick.

Forming a new habit can be challenging, but with the right approach, flossing can become a seamless part of your daily routine:

  • Set a regular time: Choose a specific time each day to floss. Flossing and brushing before bed is effective, as it leaves your mouth clean before sleeping.
  • Use the right floss or alternatives: Choose floss that suits your needs, whether it’s waxed, unwaxed, flavoured, or designed for sensitive gums. Alternatively, consider using floss picks or water flossers for ease and convenience.
  • Keep floss handy: Store floss in convenient locations, such as your bathroom, office drawer, or bag. Having floss readily available increases the likelihood of you using it daily.

Preventive Dental Health

Flossing is a fundamental part of maintaining good dental health. With a daily flossing routine, you can prevent gum disease, cavities, bad breath, and severe dental issues. 

The key is consistency. Make flossing a stress-free and enjoyable habit, and your dental health will thank you for years to come. If you have questions about flossing or want to check if your oral hygiene is on track, book an appointment with Markham Dental Smiles for guidance tailored to your specific needs.

Visit Our Location

We would love to meet you at our Unionville office. We’re located on Highway 7, right next to the Shopper’s Drug Mart.


Markham Dental Smiles
4630 Hwy 7 #2
Unionville, ON, L3R 1M5

Contact Number

Phone: (905) 477-6453
Email: [email protected]


Monday: Closed
Tuesday: 10:00AM - 7:00PM
Wednesday: 10:00AM - 7:00PM
Thursday: 10:00AM - 2:30PM
Friday: 10:00AM - 6:00PM
Saturday: 9:00AM - 5:00PM
Sunday: Closed