When you floss effectively, you can provide many benefits to the health of your smile. It is important to maintain a superior oral hygiene routine to ensure that your teeth remain healthy and provide the appearance you desire. Flossing is an incredibly important component of an effective oral health routine, despite the fact that nearly 50% of Americans forego this step in their oral hygiene practices. Flossing regularly can minimize the likelihood of oral disease and other issues. Despite many claims that flossing is unnecessary, the majority of dentists agree that flossing is a vital step to remove plaque and harmful food particles from the surface of your teeth to ensure a beautiful smile.
The Benefits of Flossing your Teeth
It is shown that brushing your teeth only reaches about 60% of the surfaces of your teeth. This means that if you only engage in brushing your teeth, you’re leaving 40% of the surface uncleaned. Flossing reaches these other surfaces, helping to effectively break up plaque build-up and removing food particles. Flossing regularly has been shown to improve gum health, both preventing the likelihood of gum disease and gingivitis.
Regular flossing helps to prevent the build-up of tartar, which can be incredibly difficult to remove after it has formed. Particles that are allowed to build-up between the teeth and other the gum line can contribute to both gum disease, as well as bad breath. When you floss your teeth on a daily basis, you can significantly lower the likelihood of bad breath and ensure the best possible health for your smile.
How to Floss Effectively
Flossing effectively is just as important as flossing on a daily basis. If you floss half-heartedly, you aren’t providing all of the benefits to your smile that you otherwise could. The first step in effective flossing is to take about 18 inches of dental floss. This may seem like a superfluous amount, but it is important to use a clean segment between each tooth, which generally requires about 18 inches. Wind the floss around a finger and use the thumbs and index fingers to direct the floss. Floss works by dislodging food particles that are trapped between the teeth and under the line of the gums. When you choose your floss, keep in mind that wax varieties slide more easily between teeth and wider floss is more effective at removing particles.
While holding the floss, you need to direct it up and down between each tooth. When you reach the base of the tooth, gently curve the floss around the edges and glide it under the gumline to clean particles from there. Take care not to snap the floss into your gums or against your teeth. Use a clean section of floss as you move from tooth to tooth and make sure that you hit every surface of your teeth. If your gums bleed, this is often an indication that you need flossing even more. This should subside within a short time of regularly flossing your teeth. If it continues for a prolonged period, you should contact your dentist to schedule an appointment.
Potential Flossing Tools
Standard floss tends to be the most effective tool for removing particles between the teeth. It is simple and effective. However, dexterity issues may make the flossing process much more difficult. In these cases, there are alternative products that can be used to provide many of the same benefits as flossing. Most dentists recommend that you use these tools in conjunction with standard floss to optimize the health of your teeth. Standard floss comes in two different varieties- waxed or unwaxed. Unwaxed floss is thinner and can reach between teeth that are clustered together. It is less durable than waxed floss and may fray if it catches on any sharp edges. Waxed floss glides easily between the teeth, but may have a more difficult time reaching into particularly tight places.
Air flossers and water flossers are popular additions to an oral hygiene routine. These tools use pressurized streams of air or water to flush food particles from the places they wedge in between the teeth. Interdental brushes contain small fibers that help to reach between the teeth as you brush over them. Floss picks are essentially picks that hold a piece of floss between two posts. These tools can be useful for flossing in hard to reach places, though they allow for less contouring around the tooth than traditional floss. The right tools may also be necessary to floss teeth with braces.
How Many Times a Day Should you Floss?
It is incredibly important to floss at a minimum of once every day. The best time of day is generally in the evening. While you sleep, your body produces less saliva, which can cause the mouth to dry out. A dry mouth is the ideal breeding ground for bacteria. Removing as much bacteria and plaque as you can directly before bed can provide the best benefits for your smile. However, it is best to floss after every meal to achieve superior oral hygiene. This, however, is impractical for most people. Whether you floss in the morning or at night, the best time to floss is when you have the time to do it correctly. It can also be incredibly beneficial to floss before you brush your teeth to more effectively remove food particles, bacteria, and plaque from the surface of the teeth.
Understanding how to floss effectively can go a long way toward improving your overall oral health. Flossing can prevent many oral issues from occurring, though it is important to keep in mind that flossing is not a replacement for brushing your teeth. It is vital to both brush your teeth and floss in order to protect your teeth. Regularly visiting your dentist is another important step in an effective oral hygiene routine, both to obtain professional cleanings and allow your dentist to find issues early on. Contact us at Hyde Park Dental today to schedule your regular dental visit!