Flossing: Is It Really Necessary?

Most people are in the habit of brushing their teeth daily, but there are a lot of people that have never developed the habit of daily flossing. Flossing can be tricky; however, it is one of the best defenses you have against the decay that can form in between your teeth. If you currently do not floss, you may want to start this habit daily to keep your teeth healthier. Here are a few things you should know about flossing your teeth.

How Flossing Helps

When you brush your teeth, you can easily remove food particles and plaque from your teeth; however, your toothbrush has limits. A toothbrush does not easily reach in between teeth, and because of this these areas are vulnerable to decay. According to WebMD, flossing is the only way to reach two out of the five surfaces on your teeth, while brushing your teeth is sufficient for reaching the other three areas.

Each time you eat, food particles can easily get trapped between your teeth. As these particles remain in your mouth, bacteria can begin forming. As this happens, plaque will also begin to develop on your teeth. The problem with this is that plaque converts to acid when left on teeth, and acid eats away at teeth.

When this process begins to occur, your dentist may find cavities in these areas. If you fail to get the cavities removed, you may face even bigger problems, because the decay will not stay on your teeth. Decay spreads, and it can move into your jawbone and tooth roots. This can lead to infections in your roots, which will require root canal procedures, and it can also lead to a loss of jawbone.

In addition, flossing protects your gums. Gum disease forms when plaque attacks the gums. This can lead to receding gum lines and a multitude of other problems, but flossing can make a difference. Flossing keeps your gums cleaner than brushing alone.

Flossing is your defense against these things, and when you combine flossing with brushing, you will have the best defense possible against plaque, acid, and tooth decay.

How Much Is Enough?

Most dentists recommend brushing your teeth twice each day; however, flossing is something you really only need to do once daily. Performing this at night is probably the best time to choose, because this will help your mouth stay cleaner as you sleep by removing any food you consumed during the day. There are numerous types of flosses you can purchase, and there really is no type that is superior. This means you should reap the benefits of flossing no matter which type of floss you prefer using.

You could even use a water flosser instead of traditional dental floss. According to a recent study, water flossing appeared to be more effective at removing plaque than traditional flossing, but you can choose the method you prefer.

To get the best effects from flossing, you will need to learn the proper steps for flossing. Here are some tips to help you do this properly:

  • Break off a piece of floss that is much longer than you think you will need. This will give you the ability to use a different part of the floss for each area in your mouth. If you use the same piece for all areas, you increase the risks of spreading bacteria throughout your mouth.
  • Run the floss up both sides of your teeth each time you insert the floss. This is important because it will help you clean all the areas instead of just part of the areas between your teeth.
  • Avoid using too much pressure when flossing. If you do this, you could actually damage your gums.

Flossing is a habit you should have daily. It can help you keep your teeth healthy, and it can also help keep bad breath away. If you would like to learn more about flossing, contact a dentist in your area today.