Brushing and flossing contribute to a powerful, comprehensive dental health program. Moreover, brushing is something that most people accept as a necessity and do almost without thinking about it. Unfortunately, however, flossing does not enjoy the same popularity, and there are many reasons why people do not floss. Nevertheless, just as Santa Claus knows if you’ve been good or bad, dentists can see if you’ve flossed (those with healthier mouths) and if you haven’t (those with dental problems). 

Flossing is essential to your dental health, as your dentist will tell you. Now, let’s look into flossing’s benefits, what it’s for, and what options are available to you! 

The Benefits of Flossing

Brushing your teeth isn’t difficult. Add toothpaste to your toothbrush, and thoroughly brush all the tooth surfaces you can reach with it. Afterward, your teeth feel nice and clean, and the whole process only takes a couple of minutes. It’s safe to say most people brush their teeth every day. 

Unfortunately, flossing is not as popular with the general public as toothbrushes. According to the American Dental Association, only 12% of Americans floss regularly. The rest of them have all kinds of excuses: they can’t do it right, their gums bleed if they floss, their teeth are too close together, they can’t reach the back teeth, it takes too long, etc.

Although flossing your teeth can be awkward and unpleasant at first, you will get the hang of it once you know how to do it properly. There is a possibility that your gums will bleed at first, but the bleeding will gradually subside. By the way, if your gums are bleeding, you need to floss!  

If you’re having trouble flossing, you can ask your dental hygienist for advice. Flossing your teeth doesn’t have to hurt nor be time-consuming when done correctly. 

Is Flossing Important?

Without a doubt! Regularly brushing your teeth helps prevent decay and gum disease by removing food debris, plaque, and bacteria. Furthermore, brushing your teeth will clean the tops and sides of your teeth. But, unfortunately, even the best toothbrushes can’t clean between your teeth. 

You aren’t done if you only brush.

It’s easy for food debris, plaque, and bacteria to get caught in those gaps between your teeth. An aggressive swish of mouthwash may be somewhat helpful, but it will not dislodge everything inside. 

By flossing your teeth, you’ll improve your oral health.

Whenever you eat, food gets stuck in between your teeth. It’s an unavoidable occurrence. The floss reaches into those little corners and pulls out the mess before it causes damage. The importance of this cannot be overstated, so let’s look at an example.

The steak you ate was delicious. Later, you brushed your teeth and removed food particles that accumulated on the top and sides of your teeth. You noticed some fatty parts of the steak still stuck in between your teeth. You realize that this could mean there could be very tiny particles of steak stuck between your teeth, too. The bits stuck between your teeth will stay there if you don’t floss.

What would happen if you left the steak out of the refrigerator for two or three days? The steak would spoil. As your mouth is not refrigerated, all those steak bits left between your teeth will eventually rot and assemble bacteria and plaque. Despite brushing regularly, your teeth and gums will become susceptible to cavities, infections, and diseases over time. 

You finish the process of cleaning your teeth by flossing.

The Benefits of Flossing

A flossing routine can benefit your mouth and overall health in plenty of ways. Here are some of the most significant advantages

  • When you floss between your teeth, it is like brushing the tops and sides of your teeth.
  • Plaque and hard-to-reach food particles are removed by flossing.
  • By flossing, you reduce your risk of cavities, infections, and gum disease because there is nothing to cause them.
  • Bad breath can be prevented by flossing. Just imagine what rotting food particles between your teeth can do to your breath! 

A Mouth-Body Connection

You can benefit from flossing your teeth in more ways than one. Heart disease is one of several health conditions that gum disease can influence and be affected by. Mouth infections can enter the bloodstream and spread to other body areas. According to a recent study, people with severe gum disease were 40% more likely to have a severe health condition. However, according to another study, people who practiced good, consistent oral hygiene had significantly lower rates of heart disease. Several severe health conditions, such as diabetes and arthritis, are also linked to gum disease.

Brushing your teeth and flossing will keep your mouth healthy and contribute to your overall health.

Get Your Flossing Done

Types of Flossing

Researchers have discovered that prehistoric people flossed with horsehair. Then, in the early 1800s, silk strands were used, followed by nylon in the 1940s. The good news is that we have plenty of ways to clean between our teeth, and none of them involve horsehair.

These days, most dental floss thread comes in continuous spools, either waxed or unwaxed. Other options include: 

  • Proxy brushes (the ones that resemble small bottle brushes);
  • Powdered air flossers;
  • Water flossers;
  • Pre-threaded flossers.

Ask your dentist for advice if you are unsure which is most comfortable for you. 

If You Wear Metal Braces

Because braces create many tiny spaces where food debris and bacteria can accumulate, flossing is even more important. There are five types of floss available: waxed floss, super floss, floss threader, orthodontic flosser, and Waterpik®.

Flossing: How Often Should You Do It?

In general, the American Dental Association recommends flossing your teeth at least once per day when convenient for you, usually after brushing. Some choose to floss in the morning, while others prefer to floss at bedtime. Select a time during which the debris is most likely to accumulate.

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Brushing alone is not enough. A considerable percentage of the dental surfaces that need to be cleaned are missed by this method – the parts between teeth. Make sure to floss between your teeth to complete the cleaning. 

Although flossing has a negative reputation, it is vital for maintaining dental and overall health. Ask your dentist or hygienist to show you the correct way to floss if you have never done so because you find it uncomfortable or undesirable. There are several types of floss from which you can choose, so you can find one that best suits your needs. 
At Patuxent Orthodontics, we strive to provide you with a lifelong smile. Call today to schedule a complimentary consultation at our office in Hollywood, MD! We also encourage you to stay tuned to our blog for answers to many frequently asked questions about maintaining sparkling oral health!