Flossing should be part of good oral hygiene habits. It is a step often forgotten because even nowadays, many people think that you can avoid problems only by brushing your teeth regularly. But if your dentist and your hygienist constantly repeat to you that you need to floss more, it’s because it’s very important step. Flossing completes tooth brushing because dental floss goes where a toothbrush cannot reach.
Flossing your teeth can remove the tiny bits and pieces of food that have become wedged between your teeth throughout the day. If you don’t get those bits and pieces out, they will turn into bacteria and eventually plaque.
Here are the good reasons why flossing is so important:
To avoid gum disease
Man flossingDental plaque is made up of harmful micro-organisms which include bacteria, viruses and protozoa (microscopic parasites). If there is plaque left between teeth and near gums, it can accumulate and cause inflammation. This is the first phase of gum disease which is called gingivitis.
If gingivitis is not taken care of, it may develop into periodontitis, a more advanced and more severe stage of the disease. Periodontitis damages the alveolar bone that holds teeth in the jaw. If not treated, this disease may therefore eventually lead to tooth loss.
To avoid dental caries
Brushing alone can not clean the whole area around a tooth when there is another tooth beside it. Flossing completes tooth brushing by removing dental plaque and food debris remaining in the inter-proximal region (the area that is between two teeth). That region is a place where tooth decay commonly forms.
To prevent halitosis
If dental plaque that is found between teeth is not cleaned, it will eventually release a bad smell from your mouth. This is a major reason why a person may suffer from bad breath (halitosis). Tooth decay and gum disease, also caused by dental plaque, are a source of a bad smell in the mouth as well.
To prevent tartar build-up
If dental plaque accumulates around the teeth without being removed, it can turn into tartar by the calcifying action from the saliva. Tartar can also cause gum disease. The continuous cleaning of plaque, mainly by using dental floss, can delay its formation. But only regular cleanings and scaling in a dental office can remove the tartar around teeth.
To reduce the risk of heart disease
Heart Disease People suffering from heart disease must be very vigilant with their oral hygiene. The mouth is an entry point to harmful bacteria that may reach cardiac tissue. Infective endocarditis is the inflammation of a part of the heart caused by bacteria. One of these bacteria is the streptococcus which enters the body from the oral cavity.
Moreover, if you suffer from heart disease, by keeping your mouth and teeth clean, you can reduce the risk of complications. You must be very thorough by brushing at least twice a day, and also floss daily.
To avoid the complications of diabetes
There is evidence that diabetes can be aggravated when someone has gum disease. That’s why oral hygiene measures of brushing and flossing are very important to accomplish.
In addition, a person who suffers from diabetes has organs that usually heal more slowly. Tissue inflammation can therefore develop more rapidly, particularly at the gum level. It is very important to remove dental plaque and tartar regularly to avoid developing or complicating gum disease.
The Right Time To Floss
Because flossing is so important, it really doesn’t matter when you do it, so long as you do it. In the end, it comes down to a matter of preference because no time is really better than another. If you prefer to floss your teeth before you brush your teeth, then feel free to do so. Some experts say that flossing before you brush can be advantageous because it allows the toothpaste to seep in between your teeth and clean those areas that would otherwise be blocked with food particles.
Other experts recommend flossing after brushing because if you loosen food particles before you brush, there’s a chance that the toothbrush might shove them back into your teeth. Whenever you decide to floss, just make sure that you do so consistently, at least once a day.
How To Floss Your Teeth
If flossing has felt uncomfortable or hasn’t removed food particles like you wanted it to, you may have been flossing improperly. Here are the steps for a proper flossing:
- Gently insert the floss between your teeth. Make sure it doesn’t snap as this can damage your gums.
- Move the floss up and down between your teeth. Be sure to do so gently so you don’t irritate your gums.
- Floss all sides of each of your teeth.
The instrument with which you choose to floss is also a matter of preference. You can use the classic dental floss, or dental tape, which comes in waxed and unwaxed varieties as well as different flavors. You can also use interdental cleaners, which include plastic picks that have a small strand of dental floss built into them, or brushes, which have tiny bristles that clean in between your teeth.
It doesn’t matter what you use to floss or if you floss in the mornings, evenings, before brushing or after brushing. What’s important is that you incorporate flossing as a part of your dental care regimen and that you do it daily.