When it comes to maintaining good oral hygiene, brushing your teeth is a no-brainer. But there’s another essential step that often gets overlooked: flossing. Flossing is the unsung hero of oral health. It plays a crucial role in preventing dental problems and maintaining a healthy smile. As a result, it should be an integral part of your daily oral care routine.
Why Is Flossing Necessary?
There are many reasons why you should include flossing in your daily routine.
Reaching the Hard-to-Reach Areas
While brushing helps clean the surfaces of your teeth, it cannot effectively reach the tight spaces between them. Flossing allows you to remove plaque and food particles from these areas, especially in places where toothbrush bristles cannot access.
Plaque and Tartar Prevention
Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on your teeth throughout the day. If not removed, it hardens into tartar, which can only be removed by a dental professional. Regular flossing helps remove plaque and prevents its buildup, reducing the risk of gum disease and tooth decay.
Gum Health Maintenance
Flossing is crucial for maintaining healthy gums. When plaque accumulates along the gumline, it can lead to gum inflammation, known as gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, a more severe form of gum disease that can cause tooth loss. Flossing removes plaque from the gum line, reducing the risk of gum disease and promoting healthy gums.
Bad Breath Prevention
Food particles stuck between your teeth can contribute to bad breath. Flossing helps dislodge these particles and removes the bacteria that cause odor, leaving you with fresher breath.
How to Floss Properly
Knowing how to floss properly can greatly improve your oral health.
Choose the Right Floss: There are various types of floss available, such as waxed, unwaxed, flavored, or tape floss. Select one that suits your preference and fits comfortably between your teeth.
Technique Matters: Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind the majority of it around your middle fingers. Hold a small section of floss between your thumb and index finger, leaving a couple of inches to work with.
Slide, Don’t Snap: Gently guide the floss between your teeth using a back-and-forth motion, making sure to curve it around each tooth in a C shape. In addition, avoid snapping the floss, as it can irritate your gums.
Clean Along the Gumline: As you move the floss up and down, be sure to clean along the gumline to remove plaque and debris. Remember to floss both sides of each tooth, including the back teeth.
Use a Fresh Section: As you move from one tooth to the next, unwind a fresh section of floss. This also prevents transferring bacteria from one tooth to another.
The Benefits of Flossing
Gum Disease Prevention: Regular flossing removes plaque and bacteria from the gum line, reducing the risk of gum disease. Healthy gums are also the foundation of a healthy smile.
Cavity Prevention: Flossing helps remove food particles and plaque from between your teeth, preventing cavities from forming in those hard-to-reach areas.
Better Overall Health: Many studies link poor oral health to various systemic health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory issues. By maintaining good oral hygiene through flossing, you contribute to your overall well-being.