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Why Flossing Is a Must, Not a Maybe

Proper dental hygiene is necessary to keep your teeth and gums healthy and to ensure a lifetime of brighter smiles. Brushing with a fluoride toothpaste after each meal is one key component to an effective, daily dental hygiene routine. Flossing, an activity that far too few of the population take seriously and perform regularly, is an even more key component of a healthy dental routine. Actually, flossing is the ideal way to remove bacteria and plaque from between and on teeth. Once you clearly understand the benefits of flossing and how to do it correctly, you’ll enter a whole new world of dental health! Flossing is critical, but don’t just take our word for it in this article, try it out for yourself as soon as possible.

Flossing Helps to Remove Plaque and Bacteria

Plaque is a sticky film that adheres to your teeth. In fact, you’ve probably been hearing about plaque for ages from your dentist. It is formed when bacteria interact with sugars and starches that remain on your teeth after eating or drinking. Brushing removes the majority of plaque from the surfaces of teeth. Unfortunately, brushing is limited in its reach. You’ve most likely noticed that you cannot really reach into the cracks and gaps between teeth with just brushing alone.

Flossing is designed specifically to remove this plaque and bacteria from teeth so your dentist doesn’t have an enormous job to do when you go in for your twice-yearly visit. It’s important to note that plaque is the cause of inflammation and irritation in the gums, which in turn leads to gingivitis, gum disease, and other gum and tooth problems. By including flossing as part of your regular dental hygiene routine, you can eliminate most of the plaque that can contribute to tooth decay and other serious issues with your teeth and gums.

Additionally, dentists have linked inflammation that causes gum disease to other systemic disease such as cardiovascular disease, pneumonia, and more. A holistic approach to your health should include a proper, regular oral health care routine that protects against dental diseases and saves you from having to seek treatment for other, more damaging systemic diseases. While more study is needed, the link between gum inflammation and your overall health should be taken into consideration when you’re debating about whether to floss or not each day. We always vote flossing! After all, it can’t hurt.

Some of the Benefits of Proper Flossing

Flossing your teeth every day and after any meal that contains a lot of sugar or starch should be considered a necessity. Some of the most important benefits of flossing include the following:

Flossing can remove food particles that contribute to bad breath and tooth decay. When these food particles become trapped in your teeth, they start to decay. This decay invites bacteria to multiple in the mouth, creating the perfect conditions for bad breath. Avoid bad breath by flossing daily!
Like we’ve mentioned above, flossing your teeth every day is an essential part of preventing gum disease. Gum disease is one of the leading causes of tooth loss in adults in the U.S. By removing the plaque that can contribute to the development of gum disease, you’ll give yourself a better chance of avoiding serious dental diseases.

Flossing for Children

Flossing is also important for children. The dental hygiene habits learned in early childhood can often carry through into adolescence and adulthood to set the stage for much healthier teeth and gums. By making time for regular dental hygiene during these formative years, you can allow your children to enjoy the healthiest teeth and gums now and in the future. Flossing can begin as soon as two adjacent teeth emerge, so starting early can ensure the best start on your child’s healthy teeth.

How to Get Your Kids to Floss

There are a number of ways in which you can make flossing more appealing for your children:

  • Using child-sized or brightly colored flossing picks can often make the process easier, especially for younger children.
  • Creating a chart and applying stars or stickers for every time your child remembers to floss and brush will often help to instill these good dental habits in your little ones.
  • Positive reinforcement for good dental hygiene can also go a long way toward making sure your children associate good feelings with taking good care of their teeth.
  • Setting a good example by brushing your own teeth and flossing every night can also ensure that your children will pick up these habits for themselves.

Perhaps the most important thing you can do to help your children to understand the importance of flossing is to show them your own commitment to healthy teeth. This will reinforce the priority of good dental hygiene for your entire family.

Four Steps to Proper Flossing

The American Dental Hygienists Association recommends that you and your family members follow these four steps to ensure the best results from your flossing routine:

  • Step 1: Wind about 18 inches or so of floss around your index fingers, and using your thumbs and apply tension to the strand of floss.
  • Step 2: Use your index fingers to guide the floss between your teeth in a gentle up-and-down motion.
  • Step 3: Move the floss between adjacent teeth in a methodical way, going tooth by tooth.
  • Step 4: Slide the floss along your fingers and use a clean part of the floss for each pass between your teeth. Rinse your mouth when finished.

Simple, right? It’s really quite easy once you get the hang of it. You won’t even notice what you’re doing. If you need more detailed instructions or a demonstration of the proper flossing techniques for you and your family, please contact your dental professional. They’ll be delighted you asked about flossing in the first place.

Challenges and Techniques for Non-traditional Flossing

Regular flossing can be challenging for some individuals, especially those with limited dexterity or other conditions. We recommend purchasing individual hand-held flossers that will make it easier to manage the cleaning of the areas between teeth. Flossers have a small plastic handle and pre-threaded floss, taking the manual part out of flossing. Electric flossers can also offer added help in keeping your teeth clean and your breath fresh for years of healthier teeth and gums. Electric flossers may come pre-threaded with floss or use water to clean the spaces between teeth.

No matter the tool you use, we’re just glad you’re thinking about flossing in the first place. We’d love to see more of the population regularly flossing and enjoying healthier gums and teeth. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to be in touch.

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