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, that’s only half the job! It’s important that you floss your teeth to ensure that you’re 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?
You leave germs behind. Without flossing, you’re not able to remove dental plaque build-up between the teeth. There are over 1,000 bacteria in dental plaque. These bacteria can irritate the gum tissue, causing them to become red, inflamed and bleed easily, which then breeds more bacteria and even worse gum health. Gingivitis describes inflammation of the gums. Gingivitis, if left untreated, can progress to periodontal disease (bone damage).
What does flossing do?
Flossing helps remove food particles between the teeth, but it also removes the film of bacteria (plaque) that forms there before it has a chance to harden. It’s difficult to see plaque in your bathroom mirror, but trust us: it’s there! When plaque is not removed, it hardens into tartar which can only be removed through a professional cleaning by a dental professional. When tartar isn’t removed, brushing and cleaning between teeth become more difficult and the gums become inflamed. This condition is called gingivitis (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 initially be an uncomfortable experience. However, once it becomes a regular habit, you will find that it becomes far easier, manageable and more comfortable.
When: The good news is that unlike brushing, you will only need to floss once a day. The time at 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 to 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 timing 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.
Next, angle the floss to hug the tooth in the opposite direction and repeat.
Keeping your teeth healthy requires a good oral hygiene routine, and a good oral hygiene routine requires flossing!