Don’t Skip The Floss!
“How often do you floss?” For some, it’s the most cringe-worthy question you hear from your dentist or dental hygienist. Don’t worry; we’re not here to scold you for your flossing schedule, but instead give you insight on how flossing is essential to your dental health, not to mention your overall wellbeing.
I Brush My Teeth Every Day, Why Do I Need To Floss?
Think of it like like this: Brushing is using broad strokes to rid your teeth of leftover food and the bacteria that form as a result, while flossing is the fine detailed work. When you just brush, you’re only cleaning half the surface of your teeth. Flossing helps clean the nooks and crannies of your mouth and gets to places your brush simply can’t. Over time, skipping the floss will result in bacteria accumulating and forming plaque, which leads to tooth decay.
Benefits Of Flossing
Flossing breaks up plaque biofilm that forms on your teeth. If this is left unchecked, it can change the chemistry of your mouth and make it possible for bacteria to survive. Flossing, as part of a great oral health routine, can reduce your risk for gum infection, gum disease, and tooth loss. You’ll also experience fresher breath.
I’m Not Seeing Immediate Results With Flossing
If you’re new to flossing you’ll probably experience bleeding gums, however, over time this will subside. Remember: Healthy gums don’t bleed! The initial signs of gum infection aren’t hard to miss because usually there’s no pain. In time though, your gums can become red and tender, which makes it difficult to brush and floss. Eventually, if brushing and flossing are neglected, an infection can develop and result in throbbing pain. At this stage, it has crossed over to an advanced stage and teeth may become painful or loose.
While it’s best to floss twice a day, if you can only muster it once a day, that will keep the biofilm from forming.
Are There Any Alternatives To Traditional Floss?
The short answer is: Yes! A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t take into account the many unique challenges people face when trying to floss. There are many ways you can enjoy the benefits of flossing without the traditional wrapping around your fingers. For instance, the plastic, Y-shaped disposable flossers are great for giving you extra reach to get those back molars. Interdental cleaners, wooden or plastic tipped pics, can help dislodge food between teeth while also gently scraping the biofilm from your teeth. Finally, airfloss while not as effective as traditional methods, can be a great alternative for those who struggle with flossing. This tool uses water and a puff of air to clean between teeth.
When Should Kids Begin Flossing?
If your kids haven’t already, get them started right away. Flossing is paramount to a child’s health. As soon as they have two teeth that touch, they should be flossing. Also, even though they are baby teeth, flossing is still important as healthy baby teeth set permanent teeth into proper position. Plus, flossing at an early age will set them up for great dental health throughout their life.
Don’t let your bi-annual teeth cleanings be the only times you floss. We can help! Give us a call today (205) 655-4300 to schedule an appointment for an exam.