From childhood we all learn the habit of brushing our teeth every day. This habit is essential for oral health, but brushing typically only reaches about 2/3rds of your teeth. This is why daily flossing is essential. In fact, it is argued that flossing does more to remove disease, food build-up, and other damaging bacteria from your mouth than brushing does.
Flossing removes plaque and bacteria that you cannot reach with your toothbrush. If you don’t floss, you are missing more than one-third of your tooth surface. Plaque is the main cause of gum disease. It is an invisible bacterial film that develops on your teeth every day.
Within 24 to 36 hours, plaque hardens into tartar (also called calculus), which can only be removed by professional cleaning. Floss at least once a day, and plaque never gets the chance to harden into tartar.
Flossing gets into areas which are impossible to get to using a toothbrush. Dental floss is more flexible, and can be used to get down to the gum line in between the teeth. The American Dental Association(ADA) recommends that teeth should be flossed with 18 inches (45 centimeters) of dental floss. This allows the flosser to use a clean section of dental floss on each tooth.
Because oral health is such an important part of overall health, it is crucial to take good care of your teeth. In addition to brushing and flossing daily, regular visits to a dentist are recommended. A dentist can clean your teeth more thoroughly with professional equipment, as well as identify areas of the mouth which need more careful monitoring or attention.
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