Yes Flossing is Important!!
Perhaps you have heard in mass media that flossing isn’t important to your oral hygiene? Maybe you’ve spent years overlooking this task, and feel like your smile hasn’t suffered because of it. Many studies indicate that less than 30 percent of the adults in America floss on a regular basis. Far less do so daily, as recommended by their preventive dentists. Unfortunately, this could be contributing to the fact that nearly half of Americans are likely struggling with gum disease. Most dentists still agree, that flossing is crucial to maintaining great oral health between dental visits. Over time, this can contribute to major dental problems, from cavities to the development of gum disease. Fortunately, it’s not too late to form this great dental habit, and doing so can help improve and protect your oral health! So if you care about keeping your teeth and gums healthy, make sure you incorporate flossing into your daily routine.
Why Brushing Your Teeth Is Not Enough
Brushing your teeth is, of course, an important part of your daily dental hygiene. That is because twice daily brushing helps to remove food particles and bacteria from the surface of the teeth, helping to prevent staining as well as harmful plaque buildup.
However, a toothbrush’s bristles cannot reach between teeth, which allows bacteria to fall into those crevices. Over time, this can lead to irritation of the gums and acidic buildup.
How Flossing Can Aid In Preserving Your Oral Health
Flossing really is an important part of preventive dental care. Flossing helps to remove these bacteria that are prone to fall into the small crevices between teeth, because it is designed to be gently pulled between them. When used properly, most dentists agree that flossing can greatly reduce a patient’s chance of developing gum disease, and the risk of cavities as well. That is because flossing is the best way to clean the portions of the teeth that toothbrush bristles cannot reach, namely the portions near the crevices between teeth. Over time, failing to floss can allow these parts of the teeth to remain dirty and eventually allow tartar buildup to cause acid erosion of the teeth and inflammation or irritation of the gums, as well.
The American Dental Association has provided helpful videos demonstrating proper flossing technique, which can help ensure you are doing so effectively. It is also important to keep in mind that if you notice bleeding while flossing, it could be due to existing gingivitis, which will require a thorough dental cleaning and possibly periodontal therapy to help reverse.
It Doesn’t Have to Be Difficult or Uncomfortable
Fortunately, learning to floss doesn’t have to be difficult. The act of flossing should not be time consuming or uncomfortable, either. When the gums are healthy, you should not see bleeding while flossing. In fact, bleeding gums are actually an early warning sign of gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease. If you do notice bleeding, you should schedule a dental visit, as you might be in need of a dental or periodontal cleaning.
Proper technique involves gently moving a clean piece of floss between each tooth, helping to dislodge any food particles or bacteria that might be there. If you’re unsure about whether you’re flossing correctly, be sure to talk to your dentist at your next checkup. With time and practice, flossing should be an easy addition to your hygiene routine, yet an important one in protecting both your teeth and gums’ health.
Dr Fondriest is a Nationally recognized and highly sought after cosmetic dentist serving clients from throughout the United States