Flossing regularly is a crucial part of your overall dental health. When you opt-out of flossing, or only do it on occasion, plaque and inflammation can become a chronic issue for you and your mouth and this inflammation can spread to the rest of your body. After a while, built up plaque can wreak havoc on your mouth by causing issues like cavities, gingivitis or, even, tooth loss. In addition, the same bacteria that causes gum disease has been shown to increase your risk of heart disease, atherosclerosis and strokes from 6-10 that of a healthy person. It has also been shown to increase degenerative problems related to diabetes and dementia. Although water piks and tooth picks can be helpful,floss is the best way to remove food and bacteria from between your teeth on a consistent basis, especially since your standard toothbrush is not equipped to reach the in-between areas.
You should floss at least once a day.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA) you should be flossing at least once a day. Whether your preference is right when you wake up each morning, after lunch or right before bed, flossing should occur right before one of your daily teeth brushings. Through flossing, you are loosening up and removing bacteria, food particles and debris that have accumulated between your teeth. Flossing before brushing is generally the recommendation so that you may brush after the in-between debris is removed.
There are a variety of benefits to regular flossing.
The benefits of flossing far outweigh the risk of opting out of it. Daily flossing removes plaque before long term buildup can occur. Consistent plaque removal reduces the risk for cavities and gum disease. If plaque is left in your mouth for extended periods of time it can attack the enamel of your teeth causing holes and erosion which lead to cavities. Some of the most common issues with those who do not floss are cavities found between the teeth. If left untreated, cavities can move from one tooth to another causing more teeth to become infected. Flossing also helps prevent gingivitis it’s progression to gum disease which destroys the bone which supports your teeth called Periodontitis. Flossing helps your body naturally fight bad breath. Because food begins to decay when it is trapped between your teeth, a foul odor can form leading to halitosis. Flossing prevents this from occurring.
Floss comes in waxed and unwaxed options.
The ADA confirmed that there is no difference between standard waxed and unwaxed floss. Choosing what option you want to use simply depends on personal preference. Waxed floss may work better for those who have tighter contacts, or less spacing between their teeth. The wax helps the floss move more smoothly up and down. Aside from the standard options there are also floss picks, water flossers, interdental brushes and air flossers that you can use. Speak with your dentist to determine what option is best for your specific needs, especially if you wear braces or have an implant or a bridge.
Flossing is just one step in the process.
Although flossing should be a pillar in your overall dental hygiene daily routine, other factors play a large role in optimal oral health. Aside from flossing at least once a day, we also recommend the following care routine for your teeth.
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day for at least two minutes each time.
- Use a soft bristled toothbrush to avoid harming your gums.
- Use a toothpaste that has a fluoride base.
- While brushing your teeth, spend a few moments brushing your tongue to reduce the overall amount of bacteria in your mouth.
- Visit your dentist at least twice a year or as required by your dental team.
- Avoid consuming foods with high sugar and high acidic content.
- Replace your manual toothbrush or electric toothbrush head every 3 months.
When it comes to having excellent oral health for years to come, flossing is a key factor. To learn more about maintaining your oral health and staying on top of flossing, or to schedule an appointment, contact us. We can’t wait to help you achieve your healthiest and most beautiful smile.