We are taught early on that proper brushing and flossing are vital components of a good oral hygiene routine. But, why should you floss? If you brush your teeth twice a day, isn’t that good enough?
Why Should I Floss?
Flossing is just as important as tooth brushing. When executed properly, flossing removes plaque and food particles between teeth and below the gum line, where your toothbrush can’t reach. If you don’t clean your mouth thoroughly, you are likely to end up with cavities in hidden areas.
When Do I Floss?
If you don’t floss your teeth at least once a day, that is not enough to keep your teeth clean enough to ward off cavities. Gum disease can develop quickly with early signs of inflammation and bleeding. To protect your smile, floss well and brush every night before bed and after you wake up.
How Do I Floss?
Proper flossing technique is an essential part of daily tooth-cleaning because it removes plaque from hidden areas, where bacteria tend to flourish. Periodontal disease tends to develop below the gum line and between teeth. If using dental floss correctly is too difficult or awkward, ask your hygienist about interdental devices and floss holders.
If you are unsure if you are flossing properly, here are some of the top flossing mistakes:
Snapping: If you aggressively force the floss down into your gum until it snaps, your technique is off. This will cause the gum to detach from teeth, creating more space for bacteria and plaque to accumulate. Some people have more room between teeth, others have very tight teeth. Thinner threads are available and special tools to help glide floss through cramped spaces.
Sawing: By only sawing back and forth between each tooth, you are only completing part of the job. Practice forming a C-shape and gliding the floss around the gum and up the tooth.
Substitute Floss: Any thin or stringy object is not only a poor substitute for dental floss, anything but the real deal can lead to serious soft tissue damage and gum disease. Floss is packaged in small sterile boxes for a reason! It is very portable and easily accessible. So, always have a travel size on hand to eliminate the temptation to use your fingernail or grab something like a paper clip or a business card.
Brushing Isn’t Enough
Patients are urged to brush twice daily AND floss at least once a day because each action serves a different crucial role. The specific purpose of each act is the same: to eliminate as much bacteria and plaque as possible for optimal oral health. Some dentists believe that if you could only choose one or the other, that flossing is most beneficial because periodontal disease begins under the gum and between teeth.
Proper flossing every day is the best defense against plaque buildup and gum disease.
If you want to learn more about proper flossing or if you need to schedule a visit contact Main Street Dentistry to set up an appointment.