Often our patients ask why they should bother to take time out of their busy schedules to floss, isn’t brushing enough? Here, our North York dentists give you the facts on flossing.
About 1/3 of your tooth’s surface is hard to reach with a toothbrush alone. Which means that if you’re not flossing, your teeth aren’t truly clean.
Brushing cleans food debris and bacteria away from the exposed surfaces of your teeth and gums, but flossing is really the only way to remove them from the areas between your teeth and above your gum line that your toothbrush cannot reach.
3 Facts about Flossing:
1. Prevents Gum Disease
Gum disease is linked to a number of conditions including heart disease, stroke, diabetes and respiratory disease.
Gum disease is caused by an invisible film of bacteria called plaque, that forms on your teeth every day. Flossing just once daily removes plaque from between your teeth and helps to prevent gum disease.
2. Prevents Bleeding Gums
It may seem counterintuitive but flossing can actually help to reduce the occurrence of bleeding gums by preventing plaque buildup from along the gum line.
3. Fights Bad Breath
Bad breath can be caused by bacteria containing debris trapped between your teeth or along your gum line. Flossing each day can help to keep breath fresh by cleaning away these troublesome particles.
How to Properly Floss
Now that you understand why it's so important to include in your daily routine, here are some tips for making sure your floss reaches all those places that your toothbrush can't!
Take a piece of floss about the length of your arm and wrap it around your middle fingers. Leave about 2" of floss between your hands.
Using your forefingers and thumbs, run the floss between your teeth, forming a 'c' shape. Start at the gum line and gently move the floss under the gums to pull down any plaque. Wiggle it to the tip of your tooth. Repeat several times.
Be sure to floss between every tooth and the backs of your molars as well. Unwind and wind new sections of floss whenever it begins to carry particles or is wearing thin. Throw the used floss in the garbage (never down the toilet).
Follow with brushing your teeth. This ensures all the now-loose particles are being swept away.
For more information on how to brush properly, read our blog post here.
Flossing daily, brushing twice daily, and seeing your dentist every six months for professional cleanings and checkups are essential for maintaining good oral health.