I had the pleasure of meeting this young lady earlier this week. She came in for a cavity which happens to be between her two molars. She was a little bummed out about her cavity. Her most recent x-ray showed many more small cavities we decided to watch because they are still in the enamel. This is how the conversation went,
I said: “I am going to take care of this cavity for you, but flossing will help you prevent or at least slow down all these small cavities” – assumed that she does not floss daily based on the x-rays in front of me.
“I do floss! I floss three times a day!” She protested.
“Really? Three times? When do you floss?” I can tell that she was telling the truth.
“When I get up in the morning before breakfast, after lunch, and after dance. I don’t know what else I can do?” she sounded defeated.
“When is your dance class? Before or after dinner?” I asked.
“Before dinner” she replied.
There lied the problem. She might have used the right tool, but she used it at the wrong time! Assume that she finished dinner at 8pm, food particles were left in her mouth, between her teeth overnight. Food were flossed out when she got up in the morning, then she had breakfast. Out of the 24 hours a day, she probably had only a maximum of 4-6 hours of “food free time”. As we all know, food particles – especially processed sugars, when left uncleaned in the mouth – will likely to cause a drop in the pH and cause cavities.
I actually told her to FLOSS LESS. Floss once a day, before going to bed, after brushing, and then rinse out. If she is really keen, floss the second time AFTER BREAKFAST. She will fare better than flossing 3 times a day at the wrong time.
Flossing more never hurts. Just in this case, flossing less at the right time is way better!