You probably feel like you should be doing it, and you know you’ll be asked if you have been at your next appointment, but is flossing really important? Our answer should come as no surprise to you: yes you really should be flossing. We’ve addressed some common excuses or questions about flossing and why we feel it’s important and why you should commit to making it a teeth cleaning habit.
Isn’t brushing my teeth enough?
Unlike a toothbrush, floss gets in the tight spaces between teeth that toothbrushes can’t reach. Plaque and leftover food particles accrue at the base of teeth and can harden into tartar over time. Tartar buildup can lead to gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease. It could also become periodontitis, a severe gum disease which causes inflammation and eventual tooth and bone loss.
When is the best time to floss?
The American Dental Association suggests flossing before you brush your teeth to increase the effectiveness of the fluoride in your toothpaste. The best technique to use when flossing is to wrap about 18 inches of floss around your fingertips and gently slide it between teeth. Be careful not to jam it into your gums. Curving the floss around each tooth and rubbing it up and down is the best way to get plaque out.
How can I make it a habit?
There are many different reasons patients cite as why they don’t floss. For many people, keeping floss right next to your toothbrush can be a simple reminder that you should be flossing before you brush. If you feel like your teeth are too close together, there are a variety of flosses available with different thicknesses and waved or unwaxed options to suit your mouth.
Can’t I just use mouthwash?
Mouthwash helps get food particles out of teeth, freshens your breath, and kills bacteria but the mechanical act of flossing helps remove stuck on plaque that causes the most harm to teeth and gums. Mouthwash alone can’t remove this and should not be used as a substitute.
We hope this post helps you understand why flossing is important to your oral health and feel like you have ideas to commit to making flossing a part of your everyday teeth cleaning routine. If you would like a better tutorial about how to floss those hard to reach areas in your mouth, let us know at your next appointment!