Does Flossing Matter?
You know just how important brushing is. Twice daily brushing is essential for eliminating plaque and bacteria buildup on the surfaces of your teeth. You also hear a lot about the importance of flossing. However, you may have come across a few articles here and there that say flossing is not as important as it was originally thought to be. The truth is, flossing does matter.
Complementing Your Brushing Habits
Brushing your teeth is essential for eliminating plaque, bacteria, and other debris from the visible surfaces of your teeth. However, even if you practice proper brushing techniques, you can still be plagued with cavities and gum disease. This is because when you brush, you are not brushing all surfaces of your teeth. The areas between your teeth cannot be accessed with the bristles of your toothbrush, no matter how well you brush. Ignoring these areas provides the perfect hiding place for plaque and bacteria. Flossing complements brushing by allowing you to reach these otherwise impossible to access areas of your mouth, ensuring that you thoroughly clean every surface of your teeth.
The Downfalls of Not Flossing
When you do not floss your teeth, you leave your mouth susceptible to tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease, even if you brush properly every day. This is because the bristles of your toothbrush cannot reach the deep spaces between your teeth. As a result, plaque and bacteria can hide and accumulate. When this happens, they can begin eroding your tooth enamel and irritating your gum tissue. Ignoring your flossing can also contribute to bad breath, which can have a detrimental impact on your social and work life.
Proper Flossing for Optimal Results
Simply flossing is not enough. Proper flossing is essential. The ADA recommends that you floss your teeth at least once a day to maintain good oral health. Ideally, for those who floss once a day, flossing should occur at night, removing buildup before you go to bed. Take about 18 inches of floss and wind it around your middle fingers, leaving approximately 1 to 2 inches of free space. Holding the floss taut, gently move it back and forth to work it between your teeth. Curve the floss around the base of each tooth and gently work the floss up and down to dislodge buildup. Make sure that you push the floss carefully just under your gumline. Use a new section of floss for each space between your teeth and do not forget to floss behind your very back teeth.
Making sure to floss properly is essential for preventing serious issues. When you work the floss between your teeth, be careful not to snap the floss against your gum tissue or push too hard. This can cause bruising or even cuts on your gums that can lead to inflammation and other serious issues. In addition to regular floss, there are also floss picks available. Floss picks are ideal for patients with poor manual dexterity who may not be able to reach the very back teeth. They are also a great option for those who floss on the go.
In conjunction with regular brushing, flossing at least once a day is critical. If you have any questions about flossing, do not hesitate to call The Elmwood Dental Group LLC at (860) 331-8748 for more information today.