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Posted on: May 10, 2021
Why Flossing Is a Must, Not a Maybe
Why Is it Important to Floss?
Think about your oral health routine. Do you make sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day and schedule regular checkups at our dental office? What about flossing? Are you also making sure that you floss once a day? Unfortunately, some people consider flossing as optional if they brush their teeth twice a day. Brushing and flossing are complementary methods that work together to ensure that your whole mouth is clean, even between your teeth and below the gum line. Read on to find out more about how flossing plays a significant role in the health of your mouth and body.
When performed correctly, flossing works to remove particles of food and bacteria from the areas of your mouth that are difficult to reach with a toothbrush. In addition to preventing the buildup of bacteria, daily flossing also prevents the accumulation of plaque, a sticky coating on your teeth that is clear to pale yellow in color. Plaque is loaded with bacteria, and it develops on your teeth daily.
Plaque hardens into tartar when allowed to accumulate. Tartar appears as a brown deposit along your gum line or between your teeth. It’s impossible to remove tartar on your own since it can only be removed at your dentist’s office. If you have tartar, you are placing yourself at risk for developing tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease. Flossing every day is the simplest way to avoid tartar buildup since it prevents plaque bacteria from accumulating on your teeth and at the gum line.
Plaque and tartar buildup can increase your risk of developing gum disease. Gum disease is an infection that affects your gum tissue, causing red, inflamed gums that are prone to bleeding after brushing or flossing. If you continue to avoid flossing, gum disease can progress to an advanced stage called periodontitis, which puts you at risk for tooth loss. To lower your risk of gum disease, floss every day to remove bacteria from the base of your teeth.
Daily flossing can also prevent the formation of cavities. Your mouth normally contains millions of bacteria, and it feeds off the food and drinks we consume every day. After you eat something containing sugar or starch, the bacteria in your mouth feed off it and use it to produce acid. This acidic mixture damages the tooth enamel over time, forming a cavity. Using floss every day to clean between your teeth can remove plaque bacteria, reducing your risk of cavities.
Do you want fresher breath? Floss every day to remove food debris that can get trapped between your teeth. Many cases of bad breath are caused by the bacteria released by food particles that are stuck between your teeth.
Remembering to floss every day may also reduce your risk of developing serious health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory diseases. A growing body of research suggests that the bacteria and inflammation that occurs as a result of gum disease may play a role in the development of systemic disease.
When Should Children Begin Flossing?
Just like with adults, flossing is essential for kids. Children can start flossing once they have at least two teeth that fit closely together. For many children, this happens by the age of two or three. At this young age, you’ll need to floss your child’s teeth and continue to do so until they’re old enough to effectively floss their teeth on their own. Starting flossing early is key since it may take time for your child to get used to flossing every day.
Tips to Encourage Flossing in Children
Teaching your children how to floss isn’t an easy task, but actually getting your kids excited about flossing presents an entirely different challenge. These tactics can help make flossing an enjoyable activity for kids.
Many kids love to imitate adults, which is why you should consider making flossing and dental care an activity that the entire family performs together. Floss your teeth alongside your child and let them watch as you demonstrate the correct technique. To amp up the fun, sing a song about flossing or make up a story about superheroes that involves flossing.
Positive reinforcement is also very beneficial for children. Take the time to praise your kids when they floss their teeth to help them feel good about engaging in a healthy new habit and motivate them to floss every day.
Offering incentives through a reward system is another way to encourage kids to floss. Set a specific goal for flossing a certain number of days consecutively and provide a small reward when your child achieves this goal.
Consider letting your child choose their own dental floss or flossing stick. These small tools are perfect for children who are still learning how to floss. Most flossing sticks come in a range of colors and some feature specific characters to help make flossing more enjoyable.
How to Properly Floss Your Teeth
If you think that you don’t have the time to floss, it’s time to reconsider. Flossing only takes a few minutes of your time, and it can greatly improve your overall gum health. To refresh your memory on the proper flossing technique, read through these steps:
- Cut off a piece of floss that’s about 18 inches long. Wind it around the middle fingers of both hands.
- Use your index fingers and thumbs to position the floss between your teeth.
- Carefully guide the floss into the space between your teeth, using a gentle, up-and-down motion against the surface of each tooth.
- Form the letter C with the floss as you curve it around the sides of each tooth.
- Repeat this process as you move all around your mouth, making sure to use a clean piece of floss as you progress to each tooth.
- As you insert the floss between your teeth, avoid snapping or forcing the floss into your gum tissue.
If you have any questions about flossing or want to schedule a checkup with our dentists, contact us today to make your appointment.