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Does Dental Floss Expire?

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Does Dental Floss Expire?

A trip to your dental professional will remind you how important your daily dental floss routine is. Dental floss is essential to keeping your smile healthy, along with consistent check-ups with your dentist. 

But does your dental floss expire? Let’s take a closer look at the importance of dental floss in your oral hygiene routine, proper technique, and if your floss will expire.

Making Flossing a Habit

Regular flossing plays an essential role in your dental hygiene. Skipping your flossing routine can result in plaque building up between your teeth and along your gum line. The absence of flossing can also increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

In addition to helping your overall oral hygiene, flossing has other benefits that can help preserve your smile.

Helps Get Rid of Plaque

Plaque is a colourless sticky film that settles around and between your teeth, mainly along the gum line. The bacteria in plaque can release acids that target your tooth enamel, leaving your teeth weakened and leading to cavities over time if not addressed. 

Plaque can be tough to see, but floss can help you get to those hard-to-reach places.

Fighting Against Gum Disease

Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease, and inflammation around your gums is an early sign. Untreated gingivitis can also lead to a more severe infection called periodontitis.

Brushing your teeth and flossing daily can help reduce the risk of gum disease developing. A comprehensive cleaning with your dental professional is also recommended to keep your gums healthy.

Reducing the Risk of Cavities

For anyone who’s ever had one, cavities are not fun to deal with. Tooth decay can result in a cavity, which appears as a tiny opening or hole in the surface of your teeth, known as your enamel.

Flossing at least once a day can help eliminate left-over food particles and plaque build-up to lower your risk of tooth decay and, in turn, cavities.

Controlling Bad Breath

Regular flossing can help you control bad breath from food getting trapped between your teeth. This trapped food slowly starts to decay and can contribute to some unpleasant breath affecting those around you. 

Plaque build-up can also contribute to bad breath due to the development of cavities and gum disease. Luckily, flossing also helps prevent plaque build-up.

A woman pulls out a strand of floss from its blue container.

Does Your Dental Floss Have an Expiration Date?

When you head to the grocery store and pick up your dental floss, it may cross your mind whether it expires or not. Dental floss comes in a pretty long-lasting form factor that allows multiple nights of flossing, so it’s a valid question.

The answer is that dental floss cannot expire—only the flavour can start lessening after a long period. 

The exception is if your dental floss has other materials with a designated shelf life. In that case, it’s advised to monitor the expiry date and take a closer look at the materials that make up the floss.

If you’re unsure about your dental floss, talking with your dental professional during your next exam and cleaning can help clear up any questions or concerns you may have. 

Maintaining Proper Flossing Technique

You should floss daily and partner it with your nightly brushing routine for the best results. It’s essential to be delicate and not glide floss into your gums as that can cause damage.

As the floss reaches your gums, curving it into a C shape and gliding it back up can help deliver good results. Your dental professional can help demonstrate the proper technique for flossing to preserve your oral health at your next appointment!

Preserving Your Oral Health

Flossing is an excellent method to help preserve your oral health and put on your best smile. You won’t have to worry about an expiration date for most dental flosses. Practicing proper flossing technique is essential—your dental professional can help walk you through the steps. 

Book an appointment with your dental professional today for your regular check-up and cleaning, and learn how flossing can help.

Written by Dr. Jonah Marks

Dr. Jonah Marks received his Doctor of Dental Surgery from the Schulich School of Dentistry at the University of Western Ontario. During his time at Schulich, Dr. Marks volunteered at Schulich’s Dental Outreach Community Services, providing pro bono dental treatment to underprivileged patients in London, Ontario. He currently provides pro bono work for LAMP Community Health Care Centre and the Alpha Omega Dental Volunteer Program. In addition, Dr. Marks travelled to Nicaragua where he provided dental care in underserved communities.

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