To floss or not to floss? That is the question.

Or so it seems these days. Who would have thought the benefits of flossing would have been called into question, but that’s exactly what happened earlier this month when the Associated Press and other members of the media learned that flossing was omitted from the 2015 U.S. Dietary Guidelines. Apparently some people understood this exclusion as a sign that the government was rejecting the long-held belief in the benefits of flossing, but not so.

Flossing

In fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a statement to clarify their position on dental flossing and said in sum, “Flossing is an important oral hygiene practice.” But it’s not only important; it’s imperative if you want to keep your teeth and gums healthy and gorgeous all life long. So read these tips and watch this short video from the American Dental Association (ADA) on “How To Floss Your Teeth” to learn all you need to know about flossing.

Why should I floss? ADA research tells us that there are over “500 bacterial species” that can be identified in plaque. That’s no small number. But it’s true. So you should floss daily to remove plaque before it has a chance to harden into tartar and harm your teeth and gums.

How often should I floss? You should floss once daily. You can decide on the best time and place, but it’s most common to floss in the evening prior to bedtime. However, choose the time and place that works best for you and your schedule. That will help make it a permanent part of your routine.

What floss is best? The best floss is the brand that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance. It’s that simple. The type of floss you choose, after that, pertains to your preferences. Choose waxed, unwaxed, floss threaders, organic floss, comfort, dental tape, etc. The list is almost endless. The good news is that you have numerous options—and, if they have the Seal, then you can bet they are O-G approved. Go here to see the complete ADA Seal Product List or just check the product packaging during your next trip to the grocery store.

When should I floss—before or after brushing? Good question. The good news is that you get to decide whether to floss before or after brushing. According to the ADA, “The most important thing about cleaning between your teeth is to do it.” But it doesn’t really matter when. What matters is that you adopt the habit of daily flossing—lunchtime or bedtime, you decide, but floss.

Do children need to floss? Yes, according to the ADA, even children need to floss. When your children have teeth that touch, then introduce flossing. Make it fun! Choose flavored floss, try a dental app, or challenge each other in a friendly flossing duel. But, whatever you do, make flossing part of their daily or nightly routine.

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