Dental Flossing: The Key to Improving Oral Hygiene
Dental flossing may be a simple concept, but most people forget to include this important step in their daily oral hygiene routine. This may be in part because most people view flossing as an “extra” or an unnecessary step. After all, brushing is enough to keep your teeth healthy, right? The problem with this theory is that plaque not only lives on the surface of your teeth, but in between your teeth as well.
This slimy bacterium forms a coating on your teeth that can easily be removed through regular brushing AND FLOSSING. However, when plaque is allowed to stick around, it will release damaging acids and eventually harden to create tartar buildup. At this point, only a dental professional can remove the calcified plaque. Without regular flossing, all the plaque living between your teeth will wreak havoc on your smile.
People have a tendency to confuse brushing and flossing. With many modern toothbrush models boasting the ability to clean those “harder to reach” places, many people are under the impression that flossing is no longer necessary. Similar to a toothbrush, floss is a tool used to scrape plaque from the teeth. However, both tools have their own purpose.
Much like cleaning your home, you need several tools to get the job done right. Vacuuming removes dirt and dust from the carpet, while a dust rag removes dust and dirt from furniture. You would never use a vacuum to dust your bookshelf because it simply cannot do the job quite as well as your dust rag could. The same goes for your teeth. A toothbrush cannot truly get in between your teeth to remove plaque quite like floss can. To truly provide yourself with the best dental care, you need to make dental flossing a part of your daily routine.
Dental Flossing is Essential to Optimal Dental Care
Many people claim they simply do not have the time to floss. However, spending just 60 seconds each day flossing can make a huge difference and provide you with a number of benefits, including:
The first and most obvious benefit to dental flossing would be plaque removal. By eliminating plaque build-up in between your teeth, you take an important step towards preventing gum inflammation. At the same time, you eliminate toxins released by plaque.
Preventing Gum Disease and Other Serious Illnesses
Plaque build-up often leads to gum disease and tartar. Gum disease starts out as gingivitis, but can eventually develop into Periodontitis if left untreated. This occurs when plaque is allowed to eat away at the bone and soft tissue. Gum disease has also been linked to a number of other serious illnesses as well, such as diabetes and heart disease. Remember, plaque is a form of bacteria. When given the chance to flourish, this bacteria can eventually make its way into your bloodstream and move towards other organs in the body.
Eliminating Bad Breath
When food particles make their way in between your teeth, they eventually begin to rot and release unpleasant odors. Regular dental flossing will remove food particles and freshen your breath.
Creating a Whiter Smile
Eliminating plaque build-up in between teeth will prevent the formation of tartar and prevent the bacteria from releasing damaging acids. As a result, you can enjoy a whiter, brighter smile.
Ultimately, dental flossing can help you save money by reducing the number of trips you make to the dentist. Prevention is the key to optimal dental health and flossing will go a long way in preventing gum disease as well as the formation of cavities.
Flossing Techniques: Finding and Eliminating Plaque
In order to truly take advantage of the benefits listed above, you need to understand how to properly floss. Believe it or not, improper dental flossing can still leave you vulnerable to plaque build-up and gum disease. The first and most important thing is to understand where plaque lives. Once you know how to find plaque, you can gain a better understanding of how to remove it. Plaque develops in two primary locations: the space between teeth and the space between a tooth and gum tissue.
Now that you know where to find plaque, you can eliminate it through proper dental flossing techniques. It is important to remember that simply placing the floss in between teeth is not an effective way to remove plaque. The goal here is to “scrub” the plaque away by drawing the floss up the side of each individual tooth. Start by holding the floss in between your thumb and index fingers and gently slide the floss up and down between teeth. Curving the floss around the base of each tooth will eliminate plaque build-up below the gum line. Always be sure to use clean sections of floss when moving to a new tooth. Dental flossing must be performed daily if you wish to maintain optimal oral health.
Daily dental flossing should be a part of every person’s oral hygiene routine. Not only does it help prevent gum disease, but it also helps keep your smile looking its best. If you are unsure of whether or not you are flossing properly, it may be a good idea to demonstrate your dental flossing technique for your dentist or dental hygienist.
Scott Williams DMD of Ascent Family Dental can assist you with all of your dental health care needs. The expert staff at Ascent Family Dental looks forward to hearing from you.