Flossing daily is essential to your oral health. It keeps your smile healthy and helps you avoid cavities and gum disease. Unfortunately, it is something that many people forgo during their dental routine, downplaying its importance. Today, we’re here to set the record straight on the importance of flossing.
Why Should I Floss?
Your toothbrush cannot reach far enough between your teeth to remove plaque, a hard-to-see film that contains bacteria. If you are not diligent about flossing, the plaque builds up and can cause problems like cavities and tooth decay. A large increase of plaque can also harden into tartar and lead to gingivitis. If gingivitis isn’t treated, it can turn into periodontitis, which causes your gums to recede.
Bonus: Flossing can also prevent bad breath by removing decaying food in the mouth, which causes yucky odors. Some evidence shows that flossing may even decrease heart conditions!
How to Floss Properly
The American Dental Association recommends flossing once per day, whenever is most convenient to you. Some choose to start their day by flossing, while others floss the food from their teeth at night before bed. Either way, you should floss before brushing your teeth to loosen up any food between the teeth before cleaning with your toothbrush. There are multiple options for flossing, including dental floss, dental tape, water flossers, air flossers, and more.
To floss most efficiently, hold the floss tight between the side of the tooth. Gently move the floss up and down on the side of the tooth. Make sure not to guide the floss into the gums. Don’t floss too hard or vigorously, as it may irritate the gums.
Flossing with Braces
For individuals with braces, food gets stuck in between the teeth more often, making flossing extra important. Dentists recommend brushing your teeth and flossing after each meal to remove any food particles that may be left over. After doing so, make sure to rinse your mouth out with water to remove food particles that are loose. If you find traditional floss difficult with braces, you may want to try water flossers.
When combining regular flossing and brushing, a healthy diet (cut back on sugary or starchy foods to reduce the potential plaque within your mouth!), and biannual dental visits, you can maintain a beautiful, healthy smile.
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Check out our Dental Blog to learn more about topics like restorative dentistry, wisdom teeth, and teeth whitening.