Flossing | Why You Should Do It

Flossing and Why You Really Need to Do It

Don’t Just Brush Your Teeth; Floss!

The two essential parts of good oral hygiene is tooth brushing and flossing. While brushing your teeth twice a day is a good way to care for your teeth, if you are not flossing on a regular basis you could be missing almost 40 percent of the teeth’s surface. This can lead to a great deal of acidic tartar buildup, which can eventually lead to both cavities and gum disease.

How many people actually are flossing every day?

Though dentists regularly remind their patients why flossing is important. A recent study indicates that only approximately 30 percent of U.S. adults are actually doing it every day as recommended. Close to 40 percent of Americans admit to only doing it occasionally, and a staggering 30 percent admit that they never do it! Many of the individuals who are polled state that they primarily floss to remove trapped pieces of food from their teeth. 

This explains why gum disease is so prominent in the United States, with estimates indicating that 75 percent of adults in America are dealing with either gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease, or another degree of periodontal disease.

To help prevent gum disease, you should floss your teeth once a day, in addition to brushing twice a day. Also consider tongue scrapers which have been shown to be the most effective means of removing bacteria from the tongue. Ask your dentist for recommendations for top rated oral hygiene products.

Why Is Flossing Important?

Brushing alone cannot remove plaque from the entire surface of your teeth. The spaces between your teeth are impervious to brushing. Without flossing, plaque and tartar can build in those hard-to-reach areas. The buildup of food particles and plaque provides an environment where bacteria can thrive. As bacteria digest sugars in your saliva, they release acids that demineralize your teeth. Over time, these acids can develop into cavities. Decay on the sides of teeth is more difficult to effectively treat. 

Flossing is also critical to preventing gum disease. The buildup of food particles between teeth allows disease-causing bacteria to thrive. By establishing a daily habit, you can improve the health and appearance of your gums. Flossing, combined with brushing, is proven to protect against gum disease by removing plaque and keeping gums healthy. No matter what your age, it is essential to maintaining a healthy smile. 

Benefits of flossing your teeth

Flossing removes plaque, which eventually calcifies into tartar. Patients who do it regularly can benefit from:

  • Lower levels of plaque
  • A brighter smile
  • Lower risk for tooth decay
  • Less risk of gum-disease-related heart problems
  • Lower risk of mouth infection
  • Improve cardiovascular health
  • Lower risk for tooth loss
  • Healthier teeth and gums
  • Lower risk of dental issues
  • Better oral health
  • Lower risk of gum disease

What is the best technique?

If you are unsure how to properly floss, the American Dental Association has provided some helpful videos online, demonstrating proper flossing technique. Your dentist or dental hygienist can show you the best oral care techniques at your next dental checkup.

Make sure you take at least 18 inches of floss. Any less is difficult to hold tightly. Use a clean piece of string to gently move between each of your teeth extending below the gum line. Do not jerk the string out when you are done, or else you risk irritating your sensitive gum tissue. Never reuse dental floss. Remember that there are multiple product options available on the market, including threaders and electric flossers. 

Are There Situations Why One Shouldn’t Floss?

Everyone can benefit from flossing, although some people may need to adopt certain techniques. Choosing the right products is important. Older individuals who have prosthetics may need a threader, for example. Interdental brushes are another option. Interdental cleaners provide another excellent way to clean between your teeth.

Individuals with sensitive gums can use soft versions such as dental tape that slides more easily and comfortably between teeth. Dental tape is the best type of floss when shredding on fillings is a problem.

Threaders are also great for anyone who wears braces. Children can begin between ages five and seven. Children are not likely to remember to do it every day, so parents should make oral hygiene a regularly scheduled part of the day. 

Electric flossers, which also go by “waterpik,” are another great option. The devices shoot a gentle water stream that can target the gumline and crevices between teeth. Individuals who have dexterity issues, such as elderly individuals and children, can benefit from electric flossers. 

Learn more about taking care of your dental health

Are you overdue for a preventive dental care visit? Are you worried about developing cavities? Do you ever wonder if you are taking as great care of your gums as you try to take of your teeth? Many people are so focused on trying to protect and even beautify their teeth that they neglect the steps necessary to maintain great gum health. Fortunately, a preventive dentist can help reduce inflammation and other common symptoms of periodontal disease, through regular checkups and cleanings, as well as periodontal therapy as needed. If you want to maintain your overall oral health, in between checkups, though, it is essential to floss your teeth daily.

Do discussions on dental hygiene have you worried about your oral health? Skipping out on routine preventive visits can cause you to miss major issues that increase costs and major loss. Dr. Fondriest recommends that patients incorporate flossing into their everyday oral hygiene habits. To schedule your next dental cleaning, our dental practice can be reached online or by calling (847) 234-0517.