We have all heard the saying “You don’t have to floss all of your teeth, just the ones you want to keep.” Is flossing essential to your oral health or just a suggestion?
The American Dental Association states cleaning between the teeth removes plaque that can lead to cavities and gum disease. These areas between the teeth are places the toothbrush bristles cannot reach. The plaque found in the mouth contains more than 500 species of bacteria. Some of this bacterium is good but most is bad. The purpose of flossing is to remove this bacterium from the areas the toothbrush doesn’t clean.
Why Should We Floss?
- To help prevent cavities. When we eat carbs, microorganisms convert the carbs to acid. The acid then attacks the tooth enamel causing cavities. Flossing can help prevent this process by cleaning between teeth.
- To help prevent gum disease. Flossing cleans the plaque from between the teeth. When the plaque is removed, gums are less swollen and less tender. When the gums are healthy, they are less likely to bleed and develop gum disease. Studies have shown less inflammation of the gums in people who do floss than those who do not.
- To help prevent bad breath. Flossing removes the plaque in the mouth causes a bad smell.
- To help prevent tarter buildup. When plaque is not removed, minerals in the saliva will calcify or harden it. Getting the floss between the teethcan help slow this developing of buildup.
- To help reduce the risk of heart disease. Your mouth is an entry way for harmful bacteria which is found in plaque. Flossing can help eliminate this bacterium before it enters the bloodstream and causes complications.
- To help avoid complications of diabetes. Gum disease can complicate diabetes. Diabetic patients have weaker immune systems which requires more time for them to fight inflammation and infections. Flossing helps prevent some of these infections that can start in the mouth.
Proper Flossing Technique
- Wind floss around one finger on each hand
- Keep taut a 1-2 inch length of floss
- Guide floss between teeth using a zig zag motion
- Slide floss up and down against the tooth surface and under the gum line
Once you begin flossing regularly, it will begin to become a habit. The American Dental Association recommends brushing twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste and flossing once a day to clean between the teeth. Doing this along with your routine dental visits is the most effective way to reduce plaque and gum disease.
Overall, flossing is an inexpensive and simple process that can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease. It can prevent expensive dental work from having to be done, saving you money in the long run. The benefits of flossing greatly outweigh any negative effects. For just a few minutes a day, you can prevent major dental problems from happening in the future!
Adams and Cheek DentistryTo schedule an appointment with Adams and Cheek Dentistry click here or call 919.866.1360.