Flossing once a day is essential for healthy teeth no matter where you are, but you might not want to pull out 18 inches of floss when you're on the go. If you're on a red-eye plane, sprinting to catch a train, or running from meeting to meeting, you don't have the privacy or time to use traditional floss. Don't worry though! You can keep up your healthy oral routine with the help of interdental brushes, mini-toothbrushes and other discrete, quick and easy flossing alternatives.
Do I Have to Floss Every Day?
Flossing removes food debris from between your teeth, and for the best dental hygiene and fresh breath, you need to floss once a day, every day. Flossing prevents plaque from building up in the places you can't reach with a toothbrush. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), it doesn't matter if you floss before or after you brush, or in the morning or evening, providing you don't miss out this vital part of your dental health care routine.
The good news is you don't have to take a reel of floss with you wherever you go. The ADA says that most flossing alternatives are just as effective. You could try interdental brushes, which are tiny wires with bristles that you push between your teeth, or flossing picks or sticks. With these handy tools, you can floss your teeth on the go.
If you have access to a bathroom but don't want the bother of packing floss, a toothbrush and a whole tube of toothpaste, consider a disposable, one-time toothbrush infused with a dab of toothpaste. Now that's a convenient travel companion!
What If I Can't Floss?
If you really won't be able to floss, or if you're traveling to a remote region where dental health care products are difficult to find, some flossing alternatives are better than not flossing at all. Chewing sugar-free gum encourages saliva production, which helps wash away the harmful acids mouth bacteria produce, explains the ADA. If you chew for 20 minutes after meals, you can reduce your risk of tooth decay. If xylitol is an ingredient, that's a bonus. Xylitol is a natural sweetener that promotes salivary flow.
If you're traveling for prolonged periods in remote regions, visit your dentist before you take flight. Your dentist can fix small problems before they become dental emergencies, and a professional clean by a dental hygienist may nip gum disease in the bud.
Nothing beats a thorough brush and floss for a fresh, clean mouth and confident smile. Don't miss out just because you're a busy bee. You can clear away that scrap of spinach stuck between your teeth with a whole range of flossing alternatives.