6 Reasons why Everyone Should be Flossing15 August 2023
Flossing is the unsung hero of oral health, playing a vital role in preventing gum disease, cavities, and preserving your pearly whites. In this article, we will explore the numerous reasons why everyone should be flossing regularly. To start, let’s begin by looking at what flossing is, how to do it and the different types of flossing so you can better understand the benefits.
What is flossing?
Flossing is the act of taking a thin, soft thread in between the spaces between your teeth to remove any food particles or debris that builds up. Similar to using interdental toothbrushes, dentists will usually recommend flossing as an alternative if the spacing in between your teeth will not accommodate interdental toothbrushes.
How to floss
- First begin by breaking off approximately 45cm of floss and wind some around 1 finger of each hand.
- Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers, with about 2.5cm of floss between them, leaving no slack.
- Use a gentle “rocking” motion to guide the floss between your teeth until you reach your gum line.
- Hold the floss against the tooth. Gently scrape the side of the tooth from the top downwards on either side of the gap between teeth.
Some other tips include not forgetting your last back teeth which do not have an adjacent tooth. Unless your dentist has advised you otherwise, everyone from the age of 12+ should be flossing or using an interdental toothbrush. It can be normal for your teeth to bleed when you first begin flossing. However, if this continues over a period of time you should contact your dentist to ensure there are not any underlying dental problems.
Different types of floss
There are a few different types of floss, however you can choose between:
- Waxed threads
- Unwaxed threads
- Super floss
- Floss picks
- Air flossers
- Water flossers
So, what are the benefits of flossing?
1. Flossing reduces plaque
Brushing alone is not sufficient to remove all the plaque and debris from food between teeth. Dental floss can reach those tight spaces where toothbrush bristles can’t. Plaque accumulation between teeth can lead to tartar build-up, which contributes to gum disease and bad breath. Flossing helps to eliminate plaque and maintain a cleaner, healthier mouth.
2. Helps to prevent gum disease
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a prevalent oral health issue that affects millions worldwide. When plaque and bacteria accumulate along the gum line, it causes inflammation, leading to gingivitis which is the first stage of gum disease. Regular flossing can significantly reduce the risk of gum disease by removing these harmful substances and reducing inflammation.
3. Reduces the risk of cavities
Another symptom of gum disease and a condition in its own right is cavities. Cavities are holes that form on or in your teeth as a result of a build-up of plaque over time. Whilst other areas of oral hygiene such as brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste help to protect the exterior of your teeth’s enamel, flossing targets the bacteria and food debris in between your teeth which can penetrate the inside of the teeth.
4. It enhances your oral hygiene routine and prevents bad breath
Incorporating flossing into your daily oral hygiene routine can lead to more thorough cleaning and better overall dental health. The combination of brushing, flossing, and regular dental check-ups ensures that you are taking the necessary steps to maintain a bright and healthy smile. Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be quite embarrassing and socially awkward. Often, it’s caused by leftover food particles trapped between teeth and under the gumline. Flossing helps to remove these particles, reducing the source of bad breath and improving oral freshness.
5. Takes care of your overall health
Oral health is closely connected to overall health, and poor oral hygiene has been linked to several systemic conditions. Some research suggests that gum disease may contribute to heart disease, diabetes, respiratory problems, and other health issues. By flossing regularly, you can significantly lower the risk of developing these potentially severe health conditions.
6. It can save you money
Prevention is always more cost-effective than treatment. By investing a few minutes in flossing each day, you can save yourself from costly dental procedures down the road. Routine flossing reduces the chances of developing severe dental problems, ultimately saving you money on extensive treatments.
Flossing has many benefits for your teeth. If you are concerned that you are displaying any of the symptoms of conditions mentioned in this article or would like some further advice on how to best floss, we are here to help. Covering Pateley Bridge and the Nidderdale area and beyond, you can contact our practice today on 01423 712799.