Flossing is an important part of your oral hygiene routine. When you don’t floss, plaque is allowed to build up on your teeth and around your gum line, causing tooth decay and gum disease. Tooth brushing, professional cleanings, and flossing have been shown to disrupt and remove plaque.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), more than 500 bacterial species can be found in plaque, some good and bad for your teeth. Together with food debris, water and other components, the plaque buildup around the teeth and on the gum line will contribute to disease in teeth and gums.
Whether you use floss or another interdental cleaner, it is very important to understand the proper technique for each tool so you are cleaning your teeth effectively. If you are unsure, you should talk to your dentist about how to use interdental cleaners to ensure efficacy.
To maintain good oral health, the American Dental Association continues to recommend brushing for two minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, cleaning between teeth once a day with an interdental cleaner and regular dental visits advised by your dentist.
Why Flossing Is Important
Flossing Can Improve Your Appearance
Do you want to keep a nice and welcoming smile for years to come? Oral-B notes that regular flossing is a terrific way to improve the overall brightness of your teeth. When you combine a bright smile with the appearance of healthy gums, you have a recipe for a smile that will last you for years!
Flossing Stops Tooth Decay Between Teeth
We’re sure that almost everyone dreads the sound of a dental drill. Dentists know that flossing is a crucial step in avoiding cavities. A sliver of sticky candy caught between two teeth can result in cavity-causing plaque within two days. So when your dentist reminds you every check-up that you need to be flossing your teeth, do yourself a favor and floss your teeth. Your dentist knows best.
Flossing Can Prevent Gum Disease
According to the American Academy of Periodontology, plaque on your teeth can lead to gum disease. Research suggests that the bacteria found in plaque causes an inflammatory response that contributes to gum disease. Flossing will help you avoid problems such as:
- Bleeding gums
- Receding gums
- Tooth and bone loss.
Flossing Can Reduce Your Chances of Getting Heart Disease
One insidious danger of gum disease is that it can play a part in the development of heart disease. Recent research reveals that you have a 21 percent higher chance of developing heart disease if you have gum disease. A theory states that gum disease spurs on the narrowing of arteries, leading to heart disease.
Flossing Can Freshen Your Breath
Keep your breath smelling fresh and your confident vibes flowing by flossing away the little bits of food in your mouth that are trapped in between your teeth that can cause your mouth to stink. Who knew a comprehensive oral care routine would reward you with fresh breath? (Hint: Your Dentist).
Alternatives to Old-Fashioned Flossing
The American Dental Association says it doesn’t matter whether you floss before or after you eat, or in the morning or at night. What matters is that you are doing it.
However; if flossing is difficult for you because you’re traveling or you have braces, the ADA has approved some alternatives to the old-fashioned flossing technique.
Interdental brushes are like tiny toothbrushes, specifically designed to clean between your teeth. These brushes are a great alternative to flossing, and are usually easier to use than a thread of floss. Interdental brushes are also just as effective as floss, and they are probably your best option if you have braces.
Dental picks are tiny sticks that can be made out of plastic or wood that can help you remove plaque from your teeth and gums. If you opt for a wooden dental prick, the ADA recommends getting it wet first to soften it. Dental pricks aren’t quite as effective as floss, and you risk moving bacteria around in your mouth unless you use a new dental prick for each tooth.
Approved by the ADA as a floss alternative, water flossing is just what it sounds like. Instead of a thread, water flossing uses a steady stream of water. The water is aimed between the teeth to clear away plaque. Water flossing uses a small, hand-held appliance that might be more comfortable for you instead of reaching floss into your mouth.
For some people, the hardest part of flossing is actually reaching the floss into their mouth and effectively moving it between their teeth. Thankfully, a pre threaded flosser is the simple answer to this problem. You can buy these in packets and use with one hand. You can use pre-threaded floss to more easily reach into your mouth and (like regular floss) throw it away after each use.
While mouthwash may sound like a great alternative to flossing, it is not a good replacement for either flossing or brushing your teeth. It is a great option for freshness and it does help kill bacteria that can cause decay and gum disease, mouthwash truly is best used in combination with both flossing and brushing your teeth to achieve optimum oral health.
Cobblestone Park Family Dentistry Cares
Here at Cobblestone, we want to make sure you know the proper ways to keep your smile happy and healthy. We recommend you always visit us for your 6 month check-up, and call us immediately if you’re feeling any sort of discomfort or experiencing any oral problems.
And as always, remember to floss your teeth!
Reach out to us today to schedule your appointment with Cobblestone Park Family Dentistry today!