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Posted on: May 10, 2021
Why Flossing Is a Must, Not a Maybe
Why Flossing Is Beneficial
Many people follow the recommendations of brushing their teeth twice daily, but how many are taking the time to floss every single day? If you’re an infrequent flosser, what you might not realize is the important role flossing plays in your oral health. Your toothbrush only reaches the tops and surfaces of your teeth, but floss works differently. As an interdental cleaner, dental floss is designed to reach the places in your mouth that can’t be reached with a toothbrush, such as the tight spaces between your teeth and below the gum line. Continue reading to find out why daily flossing should be part of your daily routine.
- Reduce your risk of gum disease: Gum disease is a bacterial infection that affects the gums and soft tissues. It’s caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that coats your teeth. Plaque contains harmful bacteria, and if plaque isn’t removed by daily brushing and flossing, it can cause gum inflammation. During the early stages of gum disease, your gums might appear red and puffy, and you might notice some blood when you brush or floss. If you don’t make a habit of brushing and flossing, gum disease can progress to periodontitis. This is a serious dental concern that can lead to tooth loss. By flossing every day, you can remove plaque bacteria before it harms your gums.
- Prevent cavities: The bacteria in plaque feed on the sugars and starches in food and drinks. When this occurs, the bacteria release harsh acids that can weaken and destroy tooth enamel. Over time, cavities, or holes in your tooth enamel, can form. By flossing daily, you can prevent cavities from forming between your teeth.
- Promote a healthier body: There is a strong link between your dental health and your overall health. Researchers are finding links between gum disease and the development of chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and respiratory diseases. It’s thought that when inflammation enters other parts of the body it can lead to the development of systemic disease. To lower your risk of these serious health problems, prioritize daily flossing.
- Prevent bad breath: Bacteria and food particles stuck between teeth are a common cause of bad breath. Although brushing can neutralize the bacteria, only flossing can remove debris from between your teeth and below the gum line. For fresher breath, make sure you floss daily.
- Reduce dental costs: Flossing is an essential component of preventive dental care. Flossing promotes the health of your teeth and gums and can greatly lower your risk of developing cavities, gum disease, and other dental problems. As a result, you won’t have to visit the dentist for costly procedures.
When Should Children Start Flossing?
Flossing becomes a necessary habit for children to start learning once they have two teeth that have developed close together. Between the ages of two and six are the most common ages for children to begin flossing. When your child is young, you’ll have to floss their teeth for them. Once they get older, it’s important to keep an eye on how effectively they’re flossing their teeth. Take as much time as needed to help your child learn the right way to floss. With a little time and effort, they will develop a life-long habit that will keep their teeth and gums healthy.
Ways to Encourage Your Child to Floss
Cleaning between teeth can be a challenging task for children, especially when they are first learning. However, if you can find ways to make flossing a fun and enjoyable activity, it will quickly become a habit that your child looks forward to.
Consider a demonstration that shows how flossing works to remove particles of food from between your teeth. Eat food that is well-known for getting stuck between teeth, such as popcorn, white bread, or leafy greens. After eating, floss your teeth in front of your child to demonstrate how well flossing removes hidden food from your teeth.
Using a chart or calendar, place stickers on each day your child flosses, which can help them see their progress. Reward good behavior with something your child enjoys, such as a toy or seeing a movie, when they achieve a specific milestone or floss for a certain number of days consecutively. As a further example of positive reinforcement, offer praise and encouragement each time your child flosses.
Floss alongside your children to help them understand that flossing is an important part of your daily routine. Try to set a consistent schedule, such as before going to bed, where everyone in the family flosses and brushes their teeth. In addition to serving as a good example, you’ll be able to help your kids on the spot if you notice that they’re having trouble. Sing a silly song, dance, or tell an exciting make-believe story about flossing to add to the fun.
What Is the Right Way to Floss My Teeth?
Before you can receive the healthy rewards that flossing provides, you need to make sure that you are using the proper technique. Follow this simple technique to effectively floss between your teeth and beneath the gum line:
- Dispense about 18-24 inches of floss, winding the majority of the floss between both middle fingers. This should leave you with about one or two inches of floss to use.
- Using your index fingers and thumbs, gently slide the dental floss in an up-and-down motion between your teeth.
- Curve and shape the floss around the base of your teeth, ensuring that you’re reaching below the gum line. Avoid forcing or snapping the floss to prevent injuring your gums.
- As you progress from tooth to tooth, use a clean section of floss.
Once you get into the habit of flossing every day, you can feel at ease knowing that you’re performing a beneficial activity that not only benefits your dental health but also your overall health. Please contact our office if you have any questions about flossing, and we’ll help you schedule an appointment.