According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC,) approximately a quarter of women, men, and kids in the United States have oral hygiene issues. Fortunately, you can avoid becoming part of that troubling statistic by making sure you do a good job with your daily teeth cleaning.
Ideally, you’d clean your teeth after every meal to remove food particles and prevent the formation of plaque, a sticky film that harbors bacteria, which can infiltrate your teeth. However, brushing twice a day and rinsing between other meals and snacks is usually enough to keep your teeth and gums healthy between dental cleanings — as long as you floss.
At 2K Dental, our expert team of dentists wants your teeth and gums to remain healthy between your biannual visits for in-depth examination and professional teeth cleaning. Brushing properly with the right brush and technique is paramount to good oral health. So is flossing.
Do you floss? And if you floss, do you floss as effectively as possible? Read on to learn why proper flossing could be the missing step in your oral health care.
When flossing, you use a thin strip of material that’s woven in layers to strengthen and reinforce each strand. Thin strips navigate easily between your teeth to remove food particles. Otherwise, the particles can get trapped at or below the gumline. They then solidify into tartar.
After tartar hardens on a tooth, you can’t remove it without the help of a dental professional. Flossing between your teeth protects those areas from falling victim to tartar, cavities, disease, and decay.
How flossing benefits you.
The primary benefit of flossing is to remove plaque and stop it from hardening into tartar. You also remove food particles that toothbrushes might not be able to reach.
Although dental professionals used to recommend flossing after brushing, they’ve reversed the order. Now, floss first so you can remove lodged food particles. Also, since you’ve already flossed, the toothpaste’s enamel-protecting minerals, such as fluoride, can remain on your teeth afterward.
Combined with tooth brushing, flossing at least once a day helps you:
- Prevent cavities
- Prevent gingivitis
- Reduce and prevent halitosis (i.e., bad breath)
- Protect your heart
Floss at least once in the evening with your nighttime brushing routine. You can add benefits by flossing during your first brushing of the day, too.
What happens when you do not floss
When you skip flossing, you put yourself at risk for a list of oral health issues, such as inflamed gums (i.e., gingivitis) or infected gums (i.e., periodontal disease). Plaque that hardens on your teeth to become tartar can also flake off and travel through your bloodstream to cause problems in your heart and brain.
How to floss better
The optimal way to floss your teeth is to start with about 18 inches of your floss. Hold about an inch taut between two fingers. Then guide the strip between each tooth, sliding it carefully below your gum line to capture particles. You may not be able to see them, but can feel them.
Use a clean one-inch strip for every tooth. Floss at least once, but preferably twice, daily.
Once you’ve mastered flossing, be sure to keep your biannual teeth cleaning appointments. Contact our friendly staff at our Parma, Akron, Cleveland, or Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, office to schedule an appointment today.