You must know how to floss so you can have a healthy and excellent smile. Flossing is important even if you brush every day.
Brushing without flossing is like mowing your yard without trimming along the fence. When you don’t get around the edges, growth accumulates. Without flossing, food particles and other debris can remain, increasing your risk of gum disease and other dental issues.
Below, we’ve outlined three primary benefits of flossing:
Flossing Benefit #1: It Helps Prevent Plaque Buildup
The main benefit of flossing is the prevention of plaque buildup. When you brush your teeth, you cannot get in the nooks and crannies of your mouth.
When you think of how to floss, the point is to get into those tight spaces. Toothbrushes are not designed to reach the tight spaces and gaps between your gums and teeth. Without flossing, you’ll end up with debris that promotes the growth of dental plaque.
Dental plaque buildup results in the growth of bacteria. There are over a thousand bacteria in dental plaque which can irritate your gums and cause inflammation. If this issue is not addressed, you increase your risk of:
- Gum disease
Regular flossing can prevent these problems.
Gingivitis is the inflammation of your gums. It is the first stage of gum disease and is also relatively easy to treat.
You may notice red or swollen gums or a receding gum line. You may also experience tenderness when brushing.
Flossing will help remove the plaque before it has an opportunity to harden. If the plaque does harden, it is more difficult to remove. The gingivitis can progress to periodontal disease – which is another name for gum disease.
Flossing Benefit #2: It Can Prevent Cavities
Cavities are more likely to develop if you don’t floss daily. The reason for this is the spread of bacteria due to the growth of gingivitis. Bacteria will begin to destroy the enamel of your teeth, leading to a cavity.
This is why it is important to know how to floss and to do it daily. Flossing will remove debris and lower your risk for infection.
Flossing Benefit #3: It Can Protect Your Teeth and Gums
The bottom line is that regular flossing helps to protect your teeth and gums. It allows you to get between your gums and teeth and get rid of the plaque.
You don’t need to floss after each meal. The general recommendation is to clean between your teeth once per day. This should be sufficient to remove plaque before it hardens into calculus or tartar.
What Type of Floss Should I Use?
There are a variety of floss types available on the market today. Though each is a little different, they all share the common purpose of helping you keep your teeth cleaner.
Some of the most popular types are:
- Unwaxed floss, which is great for teeth that are very close together because it’s so thin, but it’s also prone to breakage.
- Waxed floss, best suited for teeth that have slightly larger spaces between them.
- Polytetrafluoroethylene floss, which is incredibly strong and is highly useful for cleaning around the gums.
- Super floss, which is an almost yarnlike fabric for cleaning braces, bridges, or implants.
How to Floss: Flossing Made Easy
You must know how to floss correctly in order to enjoy all the benefits of flossing. Here are some tips:
- Take about 18” of floss and wind it around each middle finger, leaving only about 2” to work with.
- Hold the floss firmly between your index fingers and thumbs and slide it between your teeth. Make sure to not put a lot of pressure as it may cause harm.
- You just go beneath the gumline. The easiest way to do this is to curve the floss around the base but without pushing it too hard so that the gums do not get injured.
- Only use clear parts of floss as you move to the next tooth.
- Gently remove the floss from the tooth by moving it back-and-forth and pulling it up.
Flossing is easy and requires only a few minutes per day. Even children can and should floss every day to enjoy flossing benefits. However, it can be a bit tricky if you wear braces.
Here are some tips on how to floss with braces:
- The process is the same as explained above. You only need to push the floss behind the wire to ensure it doesn’t tangle with the wire.
- Make sure to be very gentle and not put any pressure on the wire.
- Maintain the up and down motion but do not scrub against the wires.
Now that you know how to floss with braces or without, we’re sure you will have no problem in flossing daily and you will be able to enjoy all the benefits.
If you don’t currently floss on a daily basis, now is a good time to start. Along with regular flossing and brushing, don’t forget to schedule a dental exam at least once per year. If you have any questions about flossing, or whether you have any dental issues you would like to check that may have resulted from not flossing, reach out to aesthetic family dentistry at 480-515-0404 or reach out to us online to learn more.