Let’s be honest here, I know for the most part everyone brushes their pearly whites on a daily basis, but are we forgetting about a really significant step in taking care of our dental hygiene by not flossing? We are missing such an important step in our dental routine; on average flossing cleans an additional 30% of the tooth’s surface that brushing misses, and flossing is the only thing that can really get in between those teeth and gums to get rid of that harmful bacteria! There are so many excuses people give to avoid flossing like “food never gets stuck in my teeth” or “I don’t know how” or even “I’m not coordinated enough to floss” well shame on all of you because flossing can have so many benefits to dental hygiene.
Unlike brushing, floss is an inter-dental cleaner so it cleans more than just the surfaces of teeth and gums. It gets between those tight spaces a toothbrush cannot reach and despite that mouthwash can kill the bacteria that forms plaque. It will not remove the tart and bits of food that are lodged in those tiny tight spaces. Proper dental care can do more than just keep your smile pretty and healthy but can prevent serious life-threatening diseases as well. Even with brushing twice a day you’re not receiving the optimal cleaning needed to maintain good oral hygiene. Floss is a tool specifically made to remove plaque from the tight spaces between teeth and under gums and flossing prior to brushing can also help brushing be more effective.
Sure it is nice to have the surface of your teeth that people see nice and clean, but it is so important to understand that for overall good oral hygiene flossing is necessary. We cannot always see the roots of our teeth covered by soft tissue (the gums), but we understand that is where our teeth are stuck in our mouths. It is so easy for food particles to get lodged here and plaque that creates tartar over time. Flossing removes these particles and bacteria where mouthwash and a toothbrush cannot.
Flossing can help prevent other diseases as well since the bacteria in the mouth can easily travel to any other parts of the body, which can lead to heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory illness. Regular flossing prevents plaque buildup in its easiest to remove stage which is sticky soft and pliable, keeping it from hardening and becoming tartar.
For those who do not know how to properly floss the American Dental Association gives these tips:
- Use 18 inches of floss and wrap most of it around the finger of one hand the rest around a finger on the other hand
- Grasp the string tightly between thumb and other finger using a rubbing motion to guide between teeth
- When floss reaches the gum line form a “c” to follow the shape of the tooth
- Hold strand firmly against tooth and gently move up and down
- Repeat with other teeth until all are done
- Make sure to change sections of floss after each tooth of floss after each tooth