It could be that you use the best toothbrush and toothpaste to brush your teeth regularly. Well done! However, maintaining optimum oral health goes beyond standing at the sink several times a day with a toothbrush and a mouth full of toothpaste.
Sure, toothbrushes and toothpaste are awesome. However, your toothbrush won’t reach all the areas in your mouth, and that’s where dental floss comes in.
Dental floss easily finds its way into areas hard to reach with the best toothbrush. That’s why as you shop for your next toothbrush, spare a few bucks for a good-quality dental floss.
Unfortunately, even with dental floss at our disposal, not many of us actually use it as often as we should. And when we finally get around to flossing, we might not be sure if the floss is still good or expired. So, does dental floss expire?
Can Dental Floss Expire?
No, dental floss doesn’t expire. However, it may fray or lose its flavor with time. If you notice any of these, it’s probably a good idea to replace the dental floss, so you can continue flossing effectively.
It’s normal to replace dental products after a while. That way, you can be sure that you’re using products that are effective and won’t cause any harm to your oral health.
For instance, according to the American Dental Association (ADA), you should get a new toothbrush after every three to four months or when you notice that the bristles are beginning to become visibly matted.
But does that also apply to dental floss?
Well, the answer is no. Dental floss doesn’t have bristles that can fall out. Instead, it’s made of either nylon or Teflon.
Nylon is a type of plastic often used to make clothing, carpets, and other products. It’s strong and durable.
Teflon, on the other hand, is a synthetic material often used to make non-stick cookware. It’s also used in some dental floss.
And because nylon and Teflon are strong, durable, and don’t expire, dental floss can last a long time before it needs to be replaced.
In fact, the only time you need to get a new dental floss is when the current one becomes frayed or loses its flavor. When that happens, it’s probably a good idea to replace the floss so you can continue flossing effectively.
But again, we can’t ignore the fact that most dental floss packs come with an expiration date. Well, that’s there to tell you that as much as dental floss doesn’t have a shelf life, it may lose its effectiveness with time, just as we’ve already put forth, but more of that will be coming up shortly.
Can You Use Expired Dental Floss?
Yes, you can use “expired” dental floss since dental floss doesn’t expire in the real sense. Ensure that it’s not frayed and that the flavor is still good. Otherwise, it makes sense to get a replacement.
It’s normal to look for the expiration date on the products we buy, but sometimes, the elapsing of an expiration date doesn’t necessarily mean that the product has gone bad and can’t be used.
The dental floss expiration date is more like a best-by date. It’s there to tell you that after a certain period, the dental floss may not be as effective as it used to be.
So, technically, you can still use “expired” dental floss, but it may not be as effective in cleaning your teeth and gums.
How Long Does A Pack Of Dental Floss Last?
Usually, a pack of dental floss offers 25m of floss. So, if you use the standard 30cm of floss per day, the roll should go for about 83 days. That means if you buy a pack of dental floss at the same time as a toothbrush, the next time you’ll need another toothbrush, you will have the dental floss will have been used up about a week ago.
According to a survey by a dental association, only 4 out of 10 people floss their teeth daily. 20% never do it, while some do it occasionally. Considering these figures, a pack of dental floss should last much longer than 83 days.
But assuming that you floss your teeth daily as required, the roll should last 83 days. But again, that’s not always the case because some people use more floss than the standard 30cm per day. That reduces the number of days the roll will last.
In short, the longevity of a pack of dental floss depends on how often you floss and how much floss you use per day. A box may last you for longer even if flossing per day, assuming that you operate below the standard length of 30cm.
For a 25-meter pack to last for as many days as a toothbrush, you will need to use a little shorter floss than is recommended. In this case, you’ll need to work with a length of 27.7cm each time.
How Many Times Can You Reuse Dental Floss?
You shouldn’t reuse dental floss. Dental floss is designed for one-time use, and anything more than that may expose you to germs and bacteria. So, while most people wash their dental floss for reuse, it’s generally not a good oral hygiene practice.
One difference between dental floss and a toothbrush is that you can sanitize and reuse your toothbrush. But you can’t wash it for reuse dental floss because it’s not designed for that.
Besides, when you use dental floss, it gets dirty and frayed. If you must reuse it, you might not be able to get the same level of flossing as you would with a new one.
In short, dental floss is designed for one-time use, and you shouldn’t reuse it. If you must, know that you might not get the same level of effectiveness as you would with a new one.
Why Does Dental Floss Have An Expiration Date?
Dental floss has an expiration date because it can become less effective with time. But in the real sense, dental floss doesn’t expire, although it may lose its flavor and become less effective.
As we’ve already said, dental floss usually uses nylon, the same material you’ll see in your clothing. Much like your cloth, dental floss doesn’t expire. Yes, no matter what that label reads, this dental product doesn’t go bad.
The idea of putting an expiration date there is to let you know that it’s generally a good idea not to store it for too long. The thing is, dental floss may lose some of its properties with time.
For instance, if you store it for too long, it may become frayed. And if the floss is frayed, it might be difficult to use it, which means it might not be as effective in cleaning your teeth and gums.
But that doesn’t mean it won’t work at all. In most cases, it will still do a decent job of cleaning your teeth, but it might not be as effective as when it was new.
Does Dental Floss Dissolve In Water?
No, dental floss doesn’t dissolve in water. So, if you’ve been tossing your used dental floss in the toilet thinking it will eventually dissolve, you’ve been wrong all along. In fact, dental floss could be the reason for the clogs you might have been experiencing in your toilet.
Dental floss is made of nylon, which is a type of plastic. As we all know, plastics don’t dissolve in water. In fact, they take years to decompose, and that’s why they’re not good for the environment.
Is It Better To Floss In The Morning Or At Night?
Whether to floss morning or at night doesn’t make much of a difference as long as you can get adequate time to do it effectively. The most important thing is that you floss at least once a day.
One of the common questions people ask is whether it’s better to floss as you begin the day or at the end of it. The answer isn’t as straightforward as you might think.
If you ask dentists, some will say it’s better to floss at night before going to bed. This is because you’re more likely to have food particles stuck in your teeth after a whole day of eating. Flossing at night will help remove those particles and prevent them from causing cavities or other dental problems.
On the other hand, some professionals recommend flossing in the morning because it gives one a fresher feeling throughout the day. Plus, it might be easier to floss in the morning before you’ve had anything to eat or drink.
However, the thing is, whether you choose morning, midday, or the evening, just ensure that you do it once every 24 hours. That will be enough to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
But we highly recommend that you floss when you have ample time to do it properly. That way, you can be sure you’re getting the most out of your dental flossing routine.
Can You Floss Too Much?
No, you can’t floss too much. However, you can floss too hard, and that might damage your gums. But if you can stick to doing it once a day, there’s no reason why you should do it more than that.
The thing is, when you floss too much, you increase the chances of doing it wrongly. That might end up irritating your gums, and that can cause more damage than good. So, it’s best to stick to the recommended one-time-a-day habit.
Flossing once a day is enough to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Any more than that, and you might be doing more harm than good.
The Youtube video below shows the proper way of flossing your teeth:
While dental floss doesn’t expire, it’s best not to keep it for too long. Using it while still new will give you the best results. Again, the more you keep it, the more it’s likely to lose effectiveness and even attract bacteria and other contaminants.
As for the flavored dental floss, you may not enjoy the taste as much after a while. The flavor might fade, and that might make using it less fun than before.