Dental Hygiene
November 30, 2004 12:04 PM   Subscribe

In light of tthis alarming story, I'm wondering how many times a day MeFites brush their teeth. How about flossing?

I don't floss and no one can make me.
posted by emelenjr to Health & Fitness (53 answers total)
Twice. Morning and night. And flossing comes in spurts... sometimes every day, sometimes not for weeks. Yeah, I'm lazy.
posted by The Michael The at 12:05 PM on November 30, 2004

Brush once a day. Never got in the habit of brushing at night. Flossing is sporadic. I'm not my dentist's favorite patient, but what can you do?
posted by BradNelson at 12:16 PM on November 30, 2004

brush: morning and night. floss: whenever I eat popcorn.
posted by poipill at 12:22 PM on November 30, 2004

brush: morning definitely, sometimes after lunch if my breath is bad, rarely at night.
floss: whenever the space between my teeth feels/looks grungy. Usually once or twice a week.

I used to brush and floss more, but it didn't seem to be making much difference.
posted by muddgirl at 12:24 PM on November 30, 2004

Much to the dismay of my mother, who is a dental hygienist, I brush only at night and floss rarely - like poipill said, when I eat popcorn, or sometimes corn on the cob or apples.

She tells me that cavities and gingivitis can both lead to nasty abscesses that, when in the upper jaw, can spread into the brain and kill you.
posted by librarina at 12:29 PM on November 30, 2004

People who don't floss should buy the Reach Access Flosser.
posted by smackfu at 12:30 PM on November 30, 2004

I have a lifetime of dental neglect behind me (I didn't start flossing until I was about 28), but what got me into it was the fear a dentist put into me over my family history of heart disease. We have a lot of weak hearts and fat bodies in my family and having a mouthful of bacteria just makes the process go faster. Ever since, I've been brushing after the morning shower and before I go to sleep everyday, with some flossing every night. I used to do my whole mouth but I'm usually pretty tired and there's no sense of satisfaction if you clean between every single day. Sometimes I like to wait a couple days to get something worth removing.

But again, not too healthy, I should floss them all every night.
posted by mathowie at 12:36 PM on November 30, 2004

Also, Glide floss is what makes flossing easy and possible for me. A line of pure gore-tex is pretty thin and slippery, making a sometimes painful process simple and quick.
posted by mathowie at 12:37 PM on November 30, 2004

Brushing, twice. Flossing, not as often as I should.

I have the special saliva which prevents cavities, but my gums are pretty damn weak, so I should really floss more often. Maybe I will right now.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 12:42 PM on November 30, 2004

I brush twice daily and floss for a week or so before seeing the dentist.
posted by paulychamp at 12:42 PM on November 30, 2004

I brush after I wakeup and before I go to bed. If I'm home during meals, I'll brush after I eat. Otherwise, I chew mint gum. I also brush before I play my oboe, but I have to rinse thoroughly because toothpaste gunk clogs my reed just as easily as food gunk. Yum.

So, I'd say I average about 4 times a day. I've gotten a bit more fanatical about oral hygenie ever since I started teaching oboe - one shares reeds (the mouthpiece) quite often. So, you want to minimize the inherent grossness of the whole situation.

I'm not as keen on flossing, probably out of laziness. I'm going to try one of those pre-flossed little stick thingies to see if that helps me. Luckily, I'm blessed with very tough teeth - no cavities and the only wear has come from my teeth grinding against themselves. But, bacteria is bacteria.

I do, however, on a weekly basis scrape out the plaque that accumulates around the permanent retainer that is adhered behind my bottom row of front teeth. It's my only problem spot and I'd rather have a go at it myself than sit for an extra hour in the dentist's chair.
posted by Sangre Azul at 12:47 PM on November 30, 2004

I'll second the Glide floss - it's the only thing that keeps me flossing.
My doctor told me about a year ago that my teeth were great, and that, at my age (then:27), all I needed to do to ensure good teeth is to floss regularly. For some reason that stuck with me and I now fairly regularly floss every other day at least.

I brush twice a day. (unless I'm feeling extremely lazy or am very drunk)
posted by soplerfo at 12:48 PM on November 30, 2004

There was a story in today's NYT about trials of a geneticly modified bacteria that is to be applied in the mouth to, in effect, crowd-out (i.e., let wither) the bacteria that causes tooth decay. The first trial is for safety, and will be administered to people with dentures!
posted by ParisParamus at 12:51 PM on November 30, 2004

Twice a day with the brushing; rarely with the flossing. OTOH, I get my teeth cleaned every six months, like clockwork, and the dentist always says "You're a champ--you clearly floss regularly" so I must be doing something right.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:52 PM on November 30, 2004

Once: In the morning post-shower. Flossing? Only when I get something stuck in my teeth. I go to the dentist every 6mo though - thank goodness for insurance.

Though with a 6mo old son, I'm going to have to start brushing morning and night and flossing as well. Gotta nix the dentist fear as well. Alas.
posted by bkdelong at 12:52 PM on November 30, 2004

Probably three times a day, sometimes four. Floss about 3 or 4 days a week.
posted by adampsyche at 12:57 PM on November 30, 2004

Brush before bed. Mouthwash too. Floss, whenever. Also, I use the rubber tip thing when I notice stuff in my teeth.
posted by Succa at 1:04 PM on November 30, 2004

Whoa, Nelly. These patients are described as "critically ill," so they're probably on a ton of meds, are old, have weakened immune systems, and lots of other factors. Dental hygiene is important for a number of reasons, and probably for most of the world, more important for nutrition than hospital-acquired pneumonias. It's great that there's a link between dental bacteria and pneumonias, but there's also a risk of a number of other diseases and dental bacteria. Keep on brushing and flossing; most of the time your immune system takes care of the rest.
posted by gramcracker at 1:08 PM on November 30, 2004

What gram said about the severity of the article. I wouldn't get my tongue in a twist over this new study.

But since you asked: Every morning, regardless. Most days after work/dinner, especially if I'm going out, and then before bed about half the time. Floss - never, although I may give this glide stuff a try.
posted by Ufez Jones at 1:23 PM on November 30, 2004

I brush twice a day and floss a couple of times a week...but there can be too much of a good thing. My husband's grandfather flosses several times a day but used to use the same piece of floss over and over again (which is taking saving money to extremes, imho). Anyway, he wound up with a nasty infection that started in his jaw and spread to his respiratory system. As I understand it, his doctors felt the germy used dental floss was the culprit.
posted by handful of rain at 1:24 PM on November 30, 2004

Well, not that it's scientific, but the guy who's been driving Slackware Linux (Patrick Volkerding) seems to think he may have come down with much the same thing.

(Granted, he's self-diagnosing out of desperation, but it was weird to see this topic come up just a couple of days after this story came up on Slashdot...)
posted by LairBob at 1:30 PM on November 30, 2004

I brush twice a day, and floss only occasionally. Every time I eat raw baby carrots, I have to floss. I feel like thy make my mouth really grimy.
posted by Coffeemate at 1:40 PM on November 30, 2004

ussually 3 times a day. In the morning, after lunch (when I go home for lunch which is 90% of the time), and before bed. My wife ussually only brushes in the morning (which drives me crazy) and she has less cavities than me. I floss a couple of times a week.
posted by trbrts at 1:47 PM on November 30, 2004

I always brush my teeth before going to bed, also in the morning if there is time for it...

Flossing? Whenever I'm watching tv.
posted by mummimamma at 1:51 PM on November 30, 2004

Brush: 2-4 times per day.
Floss: probably 5-6 nights per week.

I loves my teefs!
posted by Dr. Wu at 1:57 PM on November 30, 2004

Brush: twice daily. Floss: every morning. I loves my teefs, too.
posted by yoga at 2:11 PM on November 30, 2004

Brush, once or twice, floss, and Biotene all the time.
posted by orange clock at 2:12 PM on November 30, 2004

Also, I am totally addicted to these delicious "chewing sticks", which I use throughout the day and which, I feel, are nearly as good as flossing.
posted by Dr. Wu at 2:17 PM on November 30, 2004

Also, I am totally addicted to these delicious "chewing sticks"

Ugh, putting something that says tea tree in my mouth just...ugh...
posted by genevieve at 2:37 PM on November 30, 2004

Brush twice a day and sometimes more depending on how gross my mouth feels. I floss every day and sometimes more if something gets wedge between my teeth.

I'm not the grand dame of dental hygiene - when I found out I grind my teeth and had to get a mouth piece to stop the damage I was doing I took better care of my teeth.
posted by squeak at 2:41 PM on November 30, 2004

Brush and floss in the evening, sometimes brush in the morning, too. Listerine in spurts- sometimes I'm doing it every day, and then I'll stop for awhile.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:46 PM on November 30, 2004 [1 favorite]

I'm English so my answer is September.
You Clean Teethed Freaks.
posted by seanyboy at 3:56 PM on November 30, 2004 [1 favorite]

I brush three to four times a day. I floss only when something is stuck, but for some reason my hygienist thinks I floss regularly.
posted by deborah at 3:57 PM on November 30, 2004

Brush: once a day.
Floss: never.
Listerine: peaks and valleys.
Dentist: five times ever.
Cavities: 1.

We have the strong teeth in the family.
posted by dame at 4:06 PM on November 30, 2004

FWIW, my dentist told me that using Glide (the only floss I would ever use, and then only like 2ce a year), was as good as using no floss at all. It's too slick to do any good, it slides over the crud, and only lifts out huge hunks. He said it doesn't do anything to actually scrape away any gunk from the tooth enamel at all, so I shouldn't even bother. Dang.
posted by tristeza at 4:21 PM on November 30, 2004

I brush as often as I take a shower because I brush my teeth in the shower. Usually that means once a day, but occasionally more and seldom less. I try to chew gum after lunch and dinner so my mouth doesn't feel so gross.

I floss whenever I get something stuck in my teeth, like a popcorn husk or a piece of fingernail (because of the anxious chewing).
posted by rhapsodie at 4:22 PM on November 30, 2004

Response by poster: Coffeemate, I missed the word "carrots" the first time I read your comment, but we'll leave the raw baby discussions for another thread.

I always brush in the morning 'cause morning breath is nasty. Scope when I want mouthwash, never Listerine. If anyone's waiting for me in the bedroom, I'll always brush my teeth before bed. Otherwise, I usually forget unless my teeth feel gross.

An ex-girlfriend of mine was astonished to find out I don't floss, so she made it her mission to get me to start. I gave it the old college try, but it didn't take.
posted by emelenjr at 4:30 PM on November 30, 2004

I brush twice a day, sometimes three times.
Never flossed, but I think I'll start today.
I also visit the dentist every six months.
posted by Penks at 4:30 PM on November 30, 2004

If you never challenge your body, it will never build up its own natural immunity. Just like washing your stupid hair.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:39 PM on November 30, 2004

I brush twice a day, floss once. I've never had a cavity, but my breath improved quite a bit when I started flossing regularly. I also rinse with Listerine after flossing.

Two things that helped me floss more regularly:

1) Obtaining second spool of floss to place near computer. I am often flossing while reading or replying to MeFi.

2) Oral-B mint flavored waxed satin ribbon floss. It's less unpleasant to me than other forms of flossing for some reason.
posted by ikkyu2 at 4:51 PM on November 30, 2004

Brush with the electric toothbrush at night and the acoustic toothbrush in the morning. Floss nightly, honest.

Rinse mouth with hydrogen peroxide if I feel any gum soreness - it's very effective.
posted by tizzie at 5:10 PM on November 30, 2004

Twice a day, but I think anyone at risk of dying from illnesses caused by their teeth is probably too faile to be answering your query, sorry.
posted by shepd at 5:23 PM on November 30, 2004

And if they tried to answer, sitting at the computer would kill them.
posted by scarabic at 5:27 PM on November 30, 2004

Brush 2 - 3 times a day, usually with an electric toothbrush (the shizzle, I tells ya), floss only when some food is bugging me. My dentist has suggested that I consider flossing more frequently, but admits to hardly every flossing himself, so can't really pressure people into doing it with a clear conscience.
posted by John Shaft at 5:31 PM on November 30, 2004

Brush once in the mawning, once in the evening. Floss every night before the second brushing. I've had this routine since the end of high school (always brushed twice a day), although in college I would occasionally miss a few months around finals. Despite my dental vigilance, the drone of the hygienists from hell has ne'er abated.
posted by grrarrgh00 at 5:38 PM on November 30, 2004

five to six times a day, less if my arm is sore.
posted by docpops at 5:56 PM on November 30, 2004

I brush several times a day, "several" being variable, mainly dependent on what I last ate and how icky it made my mouth feel.

I never floss. I visit a dentist every decade or so. The tooth-cleaning drones always comment on how well I floss. Go figure.

As an adult I have had no cavities of any significance. In my last visit to the dentist, a year or so ago, I ended up with several shallow fillings which I rather suspect were done more for the profit than any real need. Grrr.

As a child my mother fed me flouride drops. That probably explains a lot, and not only about my extra-strong teeth.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:46 PM on November 30, 2004

I used to brush five or six or more times a day. Then my dentist told me that though my teeth were healthy I was brushing my gums away and I needed to cut it down to once a day.

Six months later, my teeth coated with more plaque than I'd ever experienced before, my dentist told me to use Listerine and floss.

Now I brush, floss and Listerine each night before bed. My mouth is very happy.

Do British people still have bad teeth? I thought you all had affordable healthcare.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 8:11 PM on November 30, 2004

Do people really not brush their teeth in the morning? Does that not feel gross? Am I a victim of hyper-clean US "morning breath" brainwashing?

(Morning and night, and if I'm at home, after I eat or before I go out somewhere; I don't floss unless there's crap in my teeth or I feel guilty; I hate mouthwash; 6 month dental appointments if I can afford them; no cavities until 27 and then three or four, infuriatingly enough.)
posted by jennyb at 8:38 PM on November 30, 2004

Brushing: about once-twice per week. Really. I'm trying to work up to more, once-twice per day. Basically, it's when I feel they need it. Weird, I know, but I'm 30 and have no cavities. I can only assume it's genetic.

I worry that I'll have gum problems if I don't pick it up, as they're probably more fragile than my teeth. It's weird--I never really picked up the habit as a kid, so it's hard to start now.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 10:00 PM on November 30, 2004

jennyb -- I think some people have morning breath and others just don't. I don't know if it has to do with you eat or what. I don't eat meat and I have at most one coffee per day and I never have bad breath in the morning. My meat-eating, coffee drinking boyfriend has full-on icky mouth most days, though.

Riki Tiki Tavi -- Flossing and using good mouthwash is better for your gums than brushing. Brushing can actually wear away your gums.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 11:25 PM on November 30, 2004

Brush twice a day and floss once a day or when there's something stuck between my teeth. I once went five years between cleanings and didn't have a cavity (of course, I've had two since then). I'm disturbingly consistent with this schedule. I can't even remember the last time I missed a brushing or flossing.
posted by dirigibleman at 12:05 AM on December 1, 2004

I brush once a day in the mornings, either before or after my shower. I know I should brush at night, but my dentist tells me every six months that my teeth look great. That coupled with my laziness means that once a day is standard. Flossing only happens if I've got something stuck between my teeth that I haven't been able to extract any other way.

I really think that going for a cleaning every six months is the secret. I once went for about 5 years without seeing a dentist, and when I finally did go, the plaque behind my bottom front teeth was so bad that it was starting to infect my gums, which in turn was starting to eat away at the roots of the teeth. That was enough to scare me into regular cleanings every 6 months. And it's working for me.
posted by MsVader at 5:43 AM on December 1, 2004

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