General Question

jabag11's avatar

How far back do we really need to floss?

Asked by jabag11 (670 points ) January 17th, 2011

As in, our teeth, how many teeth back do we really need to floss? Like ok, you know the two front teeth on the top tow, pick one and count back 5 teeth including the one you started counting from, that’s how far back I floss. So my question is, do we really need to floss the teeth back there? That is a true pain.

And also, do we really need to floss in the morning as well? Because isn’t flossing to get rid of food in between teeth? What food would be in between teeth in the morning? It’s already all flossed out from the previous night..

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27 Answers

IHateMusic's avatar

Yes, you need to floss the back. If it hurts (and/or bleeds) when you floss, it means you need to start flossing more regularly.
Flossing also strengthens your gums, which is just as important (if not more) as getting food out.
Gum health has been linked to heart health.

deni's avatar

The whole way back, baby. Those teeth are not exempt from getting food particles caught in between…in fact, I think they’re more likely to. That is where you do the bulk of your chewing, after all.

lillycoyote's avatar

You should floss until you come to the end of your teeth.

Kardamom's avatar

You need to floss between all of your teeth. I would even suggest that the teeth in the back are more important to floss, because there is more likely to be debris that gets lodged in back there.

Part of the reason why flossing is so important is because recent studies have shown that infections that enter/start in the mouth can lead to heart disease, more so than an infection that you might get from a cut on your finger for example. You can read about it in this article by The American Heart Association When you brush and floss regularly, you are getting rid of debris that can have bacteria that can cause an infection to enter your blood stream. Also, the debris that’s left in the back of your mouth, between your teeth can start to rot and cause bad breath (that you may not even notice, but other people will).

Brushing and flossing are just part of regular, routine hygiene. Did they not teach that in your school? Do you regularly visit the dentist?

You should brush after you have breakfast (and maybe do a swig of mouthwash) but I think it’s ok to floss just once a day (at night before you go to bed, after brushing, then use a swig of mouthwash after flossing) That should do the trick.

If you are having a hard time getting floss between your back teeth, because they are tightly spaced, you may have to experiment with different brands of floss. My teeth are pretty tight and I found that Oral B’s brand of floss works best for me. You might also try Glide brand or brands that are described as “tape” rather than just floss. The tape types are usually flatter and thinner and fit between tight spaces better. They also have these disposable floss picks that make flossing in the back a little easier.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

You only need to floss the teeth you really want to keep.

Cupcake's avatar

You also need to floss behind your furthest-back teeth… not just in-between.

bkcunningham's avatar

@CyanoticWasp that’s what my dentist advises.

gailcalled's avatar

I just got a stern lecture from my dental technician. Every tooth, every bit of gum line, every side of every tooth, even the crowns.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Floss ‘em all. I use a flosser that has a handle like a toothbrush.You can change the little gadget on the end that holds the floss.It’s a very handy thing to have. :)

Lightlyseared's avatar

When you get to the teeth you don’t mind losing you can stop.

stratman37's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille – Girlfriend, could you send me a link to one of those gadgets? Thanx

Cruiser's avatar

I use “Interdental Floss-up’s after lunch at work. Great for using while taking sales phone calls. “Mrmmppfl….gwrkucsfl”

gailcalled's avatar

I keep a roll of floss in the car for long red lights or traffic jams. I keep some at my bedside, at computer and near TV. It’s like walking and chewing gum; easy after you practice.

JLeslie's avatar

The back is where you do the majority of your chewing, unless you are biting into an apple of sandwich. Everything on a fork basically does not utilize your front teeth. The back teeth are probably more important than the front, unless you never use a fork. But all are important of course.

marinelife's avatar

Flossing once a day is sufficient.

mrrich724's avatar

ALL THE WAY BACK. Those are the MOST important teeth to floss b/c they are the most compact and difficult to get stuff out from in between.

philosopher's avatar

You must Floss in between each tooth. The molars and Bicuspids are hard to reach because they are in the back. You must also Floss them well. You chew with them and need them to eat well.
I actually Floss more than once per day. Before bed is the most important time because plaque (bacteria) builds up over night which can cause tooth decay.

Seelix's avatar

I’m going to agree with everyone else – you have to floss between all of your teeth, and behind your last molars as well. A lot of people aren’t able to comfortably reach them, which is where a flosser similar to the one @Cruiser linked comes in handy.

Floss once a day, before you brush your teeth, and don’t rinse with water afterward. If you use mouthwash, use it before you brush as well. My dentist dad and I were talking about that just last week – you know how some toothpastes advertise that they protect your teeth for up to 12 hours? When you rinse with water or mouthwash, you’re just rinsing away all that extra protection.

philosopher's avatar

@Seelix
I found this thing called Plackers for Molars. For people who are not able to reach with Floss.
I also use a Water Pick.

josie's avatar

It isn’t food you are flossing to remove.
It is bacterial biofilm, which causes nearly all disease in the mouth, and there is some evidence that it contributes to cardio vascular inflammation-i.e. heart attack and stroke.
It forms on everything in your mouth, and it forms on every surface of every tooth.
Plus, it smells really bad.
And it is unlikely anybody will tell you how bad it smells when it does. There is no polite way to say “Dude, your breath smells like an elephant’s asshole.”
Something to think about.

Rarebear's avatar

you forgot to write that you’re 19 and male.

gailcalled's avatar

@Rarebear:But his teeth are probably only 11, 12 and 13.

YARNLADY's avatar

Go back to the year you were three years old. That should be far enough.

Oh, you mean in teeth, no, only floss the teeth you want to save.

anartist's avatar

As my dentist says, “Floss the ones you want to keep” — crap liken spinach shreds sticks everywhere. However the inner side of the lower front teeth and the outer side of the upper back teeth are where the most tartar deposits collect.

jabag11's avatar

thanks everyone!!

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