Don’t Just Brush Your Teeth; Floss!
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.
So, if you are not already flossing on a regular basis, make sure you add this simple step to your daily routine. It can help to reduce tartar buildup between dental cleanings.
If discussions on flossing have you worried about your oral health, schedule your next visit to Lake Forest Dental Arts today. Our practice mostly serves the Chicago metropolitan area including the North Shore and Northwest suburbs, but we often receive patients from all over the United States. Our dental practice can be reached online or by calling (847) 234-0517.
How many people actually floss every day?
Though dentists regularly remind their patients about its importance, 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.
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
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 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 can also advise you how to appropriately floss, at your next dental checkup.
Make sure you use a clean piece of string, to gently move between each of your teeth. Do not jerk the floss out when you are done, or else you risk irritating your sensitive gum tissue. Never reuse floss, and remember, there are multiple product options available on the market, including threaders and electric flossers.
Are There Situations Where 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.
Individuals with sensitive gums can use soft floss that slides more easily and comfortably between teeth. Treaders are also great for anyone who wears braces. Children can begin flossing 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 difficulty handling floss, such as elderly individuals and children, can benefit from electric flossers.
Learn more about taking care of your mouth
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.
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. Our practice mostly serves the Chicago metropolitan area including the North Shore and Northwest suburbs, but we often get patients from all over the United States.