We all know flossing is important, yet many of us skip this key practice during our daily oral hygiene routine. Unfortunately, ignoring this vital part of your health regimen can have painful consequences for your teeth down the line.
If you need help flossing or with your biannual dental cleanings, reach out to the top Hollywood dentist, GLO Modern Dentistry today!
Importance of Flossing
The American Dental Association considers flossing to be a key part of preserving your oral health. Floss or other interdental cleaners, such as a water flosser, reach the spaces that your toothbrush can’t, removing bacteria and plaque to protect your mouth from periodontal disease.
Without flossing, the spaces in between your teeth, especially towards the gum-line, will eventually become a breeding ground for bacteria. As you eat and drink throughout the day, foreign bacteria and sugars are introduced into your mouth.
In a two-fold attack, these bacteria have the ability to simultaneously create cavities and the infections associated with gum disease. In a vicious cycle, bacteria in your mouth consume sugars from the food you’ve ingested and produces an acidic by-product. This by-product wears down your enamel and eventually bores into your teeth, resulting in those fun cavities we’re all too familiar with.
If left alone, those same bacteria will replicate and eventually infect your gums, causing swelling and irritation as well as gum recession. The recession of the gums exposes the roots of your teeth over time, making them increasingly vulnerable. The whole point of brushing and flossing is to stop this cycle before it starts.
What should my daily routine look like?
The American Dental Association encourages people to brush after every meal; although, you should wait approximately thirty minutes to brush your teeth after drinking something acidic such as lemonade or red wine. The acids in those drinks temporarily weaken the enamel, so brushing while they are still active could cause damage.
By contrast, they recommend flossing only once a day. It doesn’t matter when you choose to do it. It doesn’t matter whether you brush or floss first. All that matters is that you do it once a day to make sure plaque and bacteria are removed from between the teeth and away from the gum-line.
How should I floss?
Mouth Healthy provides a comprehensive guide to flossing that is broken down into five easy steps.
- Take approximately 18 inches of floss. It seems like a lot, but you have a lot of territories to cover. Once you have your floss, twist it around the tip of the middle finger on your non-dominant hand and then the dominant one.
- Hold the part of the floss you’re currently using between your thumb and forefinger on either side.
- Pull the floss up between your teeth using “a gentle rubbing motion.” The ADA warns that you should never “snap” the floss up into your gum-line.
- At the gum line, pull the floss into a C shape around the tooth and gently follow the gum-line up and around towards the root.
- As the last step, gently rub the tooth with the floss as you move away from the gum-line and onto the next tooth.
How to make flossing a habit?
Remembering to floss is one of the biggest hurdles people face when it isn’t already a habit. Here are three super easy things you can do to make flossing a habit.
- Keep floss everywhere. It may seem weird, but stashing floss in your bathroom, your car, and your work desk is a great way to make sure you floss every day. Even if you forget first thing in the morning, you can essentially floss at any point during the day since you have constant access to it. Just don’t floss at your desk.
- Put a sticky note on your mirror or your toothpaste. Keeping a note where you brush your teeth is a quick and easy way to remind yourself to floss on a daily basis. You don’t even have to write anything on it, you just need something there to trigger the action.
- Find a comfortable floss. You may have to try a few different brands, but if your teeth are tightly organized, then you may need a thinner floss to make the process more comfortable for you. If flossing continues to be uncomfortable, talk to your local dentist at GLO Modern Dental about types of floss, water flossers, and techniques to help you make flossing a comfortable part of your daily routine.