We can answer the question of why you should floss your teeth in just five words:
Because it’s gross not to.
Kidding aside, if you start thinking about the bacteria, food, and general gunk that can stick between your teeth – even after brushing – it is kind of gross. But there’s more to it than that. It turns out it’s good for your health and the American Dental Association says it’ll help you ward off gum disease and help you keep your teeth longer as you age.
Let’s look at the recommended guidelines for flossing and see what the experts say.
A Flossing a Day Keeps the Dentist Away
Let’s face it; having a cavity filled is no one’s idea of a good time, no matter how painless the dentist may be. Flossing helps prevent tooth decay by removing leftover food particles between teeth that your toothbrush just can’t reach. The Center for Disease Control and the American Dental Association put it this way:
Flossing is an important oral hygiene practice. Tooth decay and
gum disease can develop when plaque is allowed to build up on
teeth and along the gum line. Professional cleaning, tooth brushing,
and cleaning between teeth have been shown to disrupt and remove plaque.
Who are we to argue with these powerful organizations, right? Seriously, flossing once a day will help with your long-term oral health. But according to Delta Dental, only half of American adults floss once a day and one in 10 never floss.
That’s a whole lot of bacteria walking around out there.
But how do you know which kind of floss to choose and how do you know if you’re flossing correctly?
The Ins and Outs of Flossing
When you pick up floss at the store, you’ll see several different brands and types of floss. For example:
- You can use nylon waxed or un-waxed in all kinds of flavors. The nylon floss does tend to tear between tightly packed teeth because it’s made up of several strands of material that will shred on sharp teeth.
- Nylon waxed floss will slide between the teeth easier, which might make it less prone to breaking.
- A good single filament product will be more expensive, but won’t tear like the cheaper nylon. Usually, this type of floss is made from the same unpronounceable material used in Gore-Tex rain gear.
- You can also select dental tape in waxed or unwaxed. The basic difference is that it’s slightly wider and flatter than floss.
- Or, use a floss holder, which is a Y shaped tool with a small piece of floss between the two points of the Y. If your mouth is small and your hands are large, this might be a good option.
If you’re new to flossing, we can show you the best way to clean between even the tightest spaces between teeth. If you notice your gums bleeding as you begin to floss, don’t worry, that’s fairly normal as your gums become more used to the process of flossing.
Contact our office if you need a lesson in flossing. Along with brushing and regular checkups, it’s the best thing you can do to keep your mouth healthy.