You do an excellent job of brushing your teeth on a regular basis, but flossing is another subject. You’re struggling to remain consistent in this area, but is it really that big of a deal? If you’re wondering why flossing is important to your oral health, continue reading to get a complete explanation from a local dentist.
How Flossing and Toothbrushing Work Together
While toothbrushing is certainly an integral part of any dental hygiene regimen, it can only clean about 60% of the tooth surface. That leaves quite a bit of leftover particles and bacteria to contribute to tooth and gum decay. The reason why toothbrushing, alone, doesn’t suffice is that the bristles aren’t able to maneuver into the tight spaces between the teeth.
It’s necessary to floss to get into the crevices where bacteria would otherwise remain hidden and wear down tooth enamel and gum tissue. Flexible dental floss allows for probing the tight spaces to clear away the debris and bacteria. For the best results, you should be brushing and flossing at least two times a day.
Other Reasons to Make Flossing a Habit
Here are some specific benefits of flossing consistently:
- Keeps plaque at bay – Given that plaque can harden in just 48 hours, flossing consistently is of the utmost importance.
- Helps with stopping gum bleeding – If you suddenly notice your gums bleeding, the culprit may be oral bacteria that have seeped beneath the gum line to irritate the soft tissue. Flossing helps to remove the plaque and stimulate the gums in a healthy manner. Usually, the bleeding will stop after a few sessions.
- Improves your overall wellness – Poor oral health doesn’t just affect your mouth, teeth and gums. The plaque that develops orally can eventually travel to other parts of your body, including your heart. In some cases, there can be fatal effects. Maintaining excellent dental hygiene will help to mitigate these problems.
- Increases the life of your teeth – You don’t have to settle for losing your teeth as you get older. Flossing regularly promotes healthy gums to hold the teeth securely in place.
Due to the constant innovations in dentistry, there are now different flossing options to meet consumers’ needs. Traditional floss comes in a small pack with several yards of material. You’ll extract around 18 inches to clean your entire set of teeth. Wrapping an inch of material around the middle finger of each hand, carefully descend between each set of teeth to clean.
If you have difficulty using traditional floss, you can try a floss pick, which is a plastic apparatus with a half-inch to an inch of material attached.
Another option is to use a waterpik, which is a motorized device that shoots a steady stream of water at your teeth to aid in removing leftover food particles.
By committing to flossing today using one of the available forms, you won’t have to worry about being embarrassed at your next dental visit. Instead, you can look forward to healthy and strong teeth and gums well into the future!
About the Author
Dr. Eric Buck is a graduate of The Ohio State University College of Dentistry. For the past 15 years, he has been offering comprehensive care to his patients, which includes preventive checkups and cleanings. To further ensure that he can provide the absolute best in care, Dr. Buck takes several hours of continuing education annually and maintains membership with the Academy of General Dentistry. He practices at Creative Smiles, and he can be reached for more information or to schedule a visit through his website.