Let’s be honest, most people are not flossing their teeth as much as they should.
Many people simply brush their teeth and leave it at that; however, this is leaving your dental hygiene routine incomplete! It is important that you floss your teeth to ensure that you are getting a thorough clean and taking adequate care of those pearly whites! Flossing is an important part of a healthy smile.
What happens when we don’t floss?
Sure, you may have brushed your teeth, but what about cleaning in between your teeth? The truth is that cavities can form in between your teeth and neglecting to floss can leave you at risk of this. Without flossing, you are not able to remove dental plaque build-up. There are over 1,000 bacteria in dental plaque. These bacteria can irritate the gum tissue, causing it to become red and inflamed and bleed easily, which breeds more bacteria and causes gingivitis to occur. Gingivitis describes inflammation of the gums. Gingivitis, if left untreated, can progress to periodontal disease.
What does flossing do?
Flossing helps remove debris and excess food particles between the teeth, it also removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it has a chance to harden into plaque. It is a sticky colourless deposit that clings to your teeth. When plaque is not removed, it hardens into tartar which can only be removed through a professional cleaning by a dental professional. When this happens, brushing and cleaning between teeth become more difficult, and gum tissue can become swollen or may bleed. This condition is called gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease, and if left unchecked, the bacteria-laden tartar and plaque can penetrate even deeper below the gum line, causing periodontitis. Periodontitis describes the inflammation of the tissues that support the teeth, causing swollen and sometimes receding gums, bone loss and loosening of the teeth. That is why you often hear dentists saying “only floss the teeth you want to keep”.
Adequate flossing technique
If you have not flossed your teeth in a while, it may be an uncomfortable experience; however, once it becomes a regular habit, you will find that it becomes far easier and manageable.
When: The good news is that unlike brushing, you will only need to floss once a day. The time in which you choose to floss is completely up to you. You can floss either before or after brushing. However, if you use dental floss before you brush, the fluoride from the toothpaste has a better chance of reaching between teeth. Although you may choose floss in the morning or afternoon, many people prefer to floss at night to prevent food and debris from remaining in between your teeth overnight. This could also work to prevent the build-up of calculus or tartar.
Take care when flossing your teeth: Gently glide the floss in between the teeth in a sawing motion. Use care not to snap the floss between the teeth as this may cause trauma to the tissue. Angle the floss so it hugs the tooth in a “c” shape. Gently slide the floss up and down the surface of the tooth making sure it goes slightly below the gum line.
When complete, angle the floss to hug the tooth in the opposite direction and repeat this step.
As you move on to each set of teeth, unwind the floss from your fingers, and rewind it so there is a clean section of floss to use.
Keeping your teeth healthy requires a good oral hygiene routine and a good oral hygiene routine requires flossing!