Why Should you be Flossing?

If you’re like many individuals, the dental care professional’s instructions about flossing go in one ear and out the other. You know you’re supposed to do it, but somehow it just doesn’t make it into your daily dental hygiene routine. “You don’t get any immediate gratification from flossing,” says Alla Wheeler, RDH, MPA, associate professor of the Dental Hygiene Program at New York University’s School of Dentistry. “Patients think it does nothing.”

But here’s the thing: Flossing does matter. “It’s very important to remove plaque from areas where your toothbrush can’t reach, because plaque is full of bacteria that can cause decay and gum disease,” says Wheeler. If you’re not sure how to floss properly, ask your dental professional for a demonstration at your next appointment.

Here are some other reasons to make flossing a part of your daily routine:

1. Flossing removes plaque from your teeth.

Plaque is a sticky film of food debris, bacteria, and saliva. If plaque isn’t removed, it can harden into tartar (calculus), which can lead to gum disease.

2. Flossing helps prevent cavities.

Cavities are caused by plaque that produces acids that eat away at tooth enamel. Flossing helps remove plaque before it has a chance to cause damage.

3. Flossing improves gum health.

Flossing removes plaque from along the gum line, where it can cause inflammation and bleeding. Inflammation of the gums is the first stage of gum disease.

4. Flossing can help reverse gingivitis.

Gingivitis is an early form of gum disease characterized by inflammation of the gums. If plaque isn’t removed, it can progress to periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease.

5. Flossing can help you avoid bad breath.

Plaque that isn’t removed can lead to tartar buildup and gum disease, both of which can cause bad breath.

6. Flossing is easy to do.

With a little practice, flossing can become a part of your daily routine. There are many different types of floss available, so you can find one that works best for you.

7. Flossing is relatively inexpensive.

Floss is an affordable way to help keep your teeth and gums healthy. You can find floss at most drugstores and grocery stores.

8. Flossing is good for overall health.

Gum disease has been linked to other health problems such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. By taking care of your teeth and gums, you can help reduce your risk of developing these and other health problems.

Choosing the Correct Dental Floss

Many flosses are composed of either nylon or Teflon, both of which are equally effective. People with wider spaces between their teeth or gum recession (the loss of gum tissue, exposing the roots of the teeth) tend to see greater success with a flat, wide dental tape. Thin floss (sometimes made of Gore-Tex) that ‘s coated with wax or fluoride slides easily between teeth and is less likely to shred.

To floss properly, use about 18 inches (45 cm) of floss. Wrap most of the floss around each middle finger, leaving an inch or two (2.5 to 5 cm) of floss to work with. Use your thumbs and index fingers to guide the floss between your teeth. Curve the floss around the base of each tooth, making sure to go under the gum line. Use a gentle rubbing motion to clean the sides of each tooth. Be careful not to snap the floss into your gums—this can cause irritation. When you’re finished flossing, use a clean section of floss to remove any plaque that may be left on your teeth.

If you have trouble using regular floss, there are other options available, such as pre-threaded flossers, floss picks, and water flossers. These products can make flossing easier and more effective. Ask your dental professional which type of floss is best for you.

How to Floss

The correct way to floss is to use a gentle rubbing motion to clean the sides of each tooth. Be careful not to snap the floss into your gums—this can cause irritation. When you’re finished flossing, use a clean section of floss to remove any plaque that may be left on your teeth.

If you have trouble using regular floss, there are other options available, such as pre-threaded flossers, floss picks, and water flossers. These products can make flossing easier and more effective. Ask your dental professional which type of floss is best for you.

When to Floss

It’s important to floss at least once a day, preferably before brushing your teeth. This will help remove plaque and food particles from between your teeth and along your gum line.

If you have trouble fitting flossing into your daily routine, try to floss at night before you go to bed. This will help remove plaque and bacteria that have built up during the day.

If you wear braces, it’s especially important to floss regularly to remove food and plaque from around the brackets and wires. Your dental professional can show you the best way to floss with braces.

Flossing Tips

Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your flossing routine:

-Use about 18 inches (45 cm) of floss. Wrap most of the floss around each middle finger, leaving an inch or two (2.5 to 5 cm) of floss to work with.

-Guide the floss between your teeth. Curve the floss around the base of each tooth, making sure to go under the gum line.

-Use a gentle rubbing motion to clean the sides of each tooth. Be careful not to snap the floss into your gums—this can cause irritation.

-When you’re finished flossing, use a clean section of floss to remove any plaque that may be left on your teeth.

-If you have trouble using regular floss, there are other options available, such as pre-threaded flossers, floss picks, and water flossers. These products can make flossing easier and more effective. Ask your dental professional which type of floss is best for you.

-It’s important to floss at least once a day, preferably before brushing your teeth. This will help remove plaque and food particles from between your teeth and along your gum line.

-If you wear braces, it’s especially important to floss regularly to remove food and plaque from around the brackets and wires. Your dental professional can show you the best way to floss with braces.

When Not to Floss

There are a few times when you shouldn’t floss your teeth:

-If you have bleeding gums, avoid using any type of floss that could irritate your gums further.

-If you have braces, be careful not to floss too hard or you could damage the wires.

-If you have any other dental devices, such as a retainer or bridge, talk to your dental professional before using any type of floss. You don’t want to damage your dental work.

If you’re not sure whether or not you should be flossing, ask your dental professional for advice. They can help you figure out the best way to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

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