Your smile is under attack every day whether you know it or not.
The bacteria that cause gum disease live inside your mouth, and they will take advantage of any opportunity to cause a gum infection. If you think this is a small risk, then you should know that gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in the United States.
That’s also why flossing should be a part of your daily oral hygiene routine. Now, flossing alone won’t stop gum disease. You also need to brush twice a day and schedule professional dental cleanings and exams, which we offer a Marineland Dental Care.
You can make an appointment at our dentist office in Kennewick, WA, by calling 509-591-0515 or by filling out our online form. And while you are here, we can answer questions you may have about flossing.
What Flossing Does For You
Flossing, like brushing, is done to remove bacteria and plaque from your teeth.
Your toothbrush (with a bit of fluoride toothpaste) is an excellent tool for cleaning the front, back, and tops of your teeth. The toothbrush isn’t as effective at cleaning the spaces between your teeth or the area between your teeth and gums.
This is where dental floss helps. Using floss (or another interdental cleaner), you can remove the bacteria and plaque that forms in those harder to reach places.
Just as important, floss is useful for removing small food particles that may become stuck between your teeth. If not removed, those food particles can feed the bacteria that cause gum disease.
In other words, by flossing, you will be doing something to help prevent gum disease before it can take hold.
And preventing gum disease is better than having to treat it.
How To Floss (Or Clean Between Your Teeth Other Ways)
The American Dental Association recommends flossing daily as part of your normal oral hygiene routine.
Unfortunately, a recent survey revealed that a majority of Americans do not follow the ADA’s advice. Based on the survey responses, 4 in 10 said they floss daily. Another 4 in 10 said they floss sometimes, and 2 in 10 said they never floss.
Even for the four who say that they floss every day, they may not be flossing correctly, which is just as important as taking the time to clean between your teeth.
When using dental floss, find one that works for you. It can be waxed or unwaxed, flavored or unflavored, and whatever width feels comfortable to you.
Break off 18 inches of your preferred dental floss, and wrap the ends around your middle fingers. Hold about an inch of floss between your thumbs and index fingers. “Hug” the floss around each side of your teeth, being sure to clean below the gumline. As you floss, wrap and unwrap it to use a clean section between each tooth. When you are finished, throw the floss away.
Now, if you are someone who doesn’t floss like you should, then you may want to consider a different interdental cleaner instead. Here are a few alternatives to dental floss you may want to consider:
You’ve probably seen these in the toothpaste aisle. They are short pieces of plastic with a strand of floss at one end. Many people find it more comfortable to floss with these because the handle makes it easier to reach the back of their mouths.
▶ Water flossers
Water flossers are devices that aim a steady stream of water into your mouth. Studies have shown that water flossers can be as effective as dental floss in cleaning the spaces between your teeth when used correctly.
▶ Interdental brushes
People with braces often use these to keep from getting stuck in their brackets and wires. Some can be used to clean between teeth as well. Just be sure you don’t force them between your teeth. If they don’t fit comfortably and easily, we recommend using one of other cleaning options.
And Don’t Forget To Visit The Dentist
Regular dental cleanings remove plaque and tartar buildup that you may have missed. Regular dental exams give us a chance to find gum disease in the early stages when it is easier to treat.