Kitchener Dentist Files: "When is the best time to floss?"

Dr. Kyle Hornby

As a Kitchener Dentist, I get asked at least once each day: "Do I really need to floss?". Flossing is harder to do on autopilot compared to brushing your teeth. And, people report discomfort, soreness and bleeding of gums following flossing. The key is, if you floss daily, that discomfort and bleeding goes away. So, should you floss in the morning? After lunch? If you're flossing once daily, when is the best time to do it?

Kitchener Dentist Files: Timing Your Flossing for Biggest Impact

When you brush and floss your teeth, you create a clean environment in your mouth. Most or all food, plaque and bacteria are gone. These things all contribute to gum inflammation and tooth decay. So, in their absence, the environment in the mouth favours regeneration and remineralization of gums and teeth, respectively. So the key is to brush and floss to enable the longest regenerative phase possible. How do you do that?

There is no doubt that flossing before bedtime will give you the greatest bang for your buck, effort-wise. When you floss, food, plaque and other contaminants are removed from between teeth and deep in gum pockets. If you sleep for 8 hours, you have now created a pro-regenerative environment for a third of each day! That's powerful stuff!

Kitchener Dentist Files: Best Flossing Technique

When you visit your Kitchener Dentist, they will typically recommend that you floss daily. However, flossing technique is very rarely reviewed. Simply flossing once up or down toward the gums and then back out is helpful, but there is a more thorough way to floss. I generally recommend 2 small but important modifications to the basic flossing technique:

  1. Floss into and out of each tooth-tooth contact twice. You will be amazed to find that, often times, you pull more plaque and food debris out of these spaces the second time you go in.
  2. Pull your floss side-to-side once in between the teeth. Click your floss through the contact between your teeth and then "jig" your floss side-to-side. This helps to draw out larger food debris and fibers. If you simply floss in an up-down direction, larger food bits fall off the floss when you floss back out of the contact between teeth. This food debris then stays between your teeth.


This week's article is a short one but arms you with powerful information so that you can get the most out of flossing your teeth. Timing your daily floss session after your last food/drink intake, and right before bed enables you to get the longest regenerative period in your mouth. Also, consider altering your flossing technique to enable greater coverage and more thorough cleansing action!

Thanks for reading!

By Dr. Kyle Hornby, Kitchener Dentist

If you would like to arrange a no-charge Meet & Greet consult with me, give us a call at (519) 576-8160 or request a consult here.

Our Kitchener Dentists are conveniently located in Downtown Kitchener and we are a short drive away for families in Kitchener, Waterloo, Breslau & Stratford.

This article is meant to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Accordingly, always seek the advice of your Kitchener Dentist or other healthcare provider regarding a dental condition or treatment.

Enjoy a fresh start.
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