Everything You Need To Know About Flossing: Straight From An Expert
Oral Health is directly linked to your general health. Good oral health boosts morale, increases self-esteem and improves social interactions.Poor oral hygiene causes accumulation of bacteria in mouth which travel to other parts of body and may cause infection in patients with compromised immune system.
Mouth is home for variety of different strains of bacteria, some of which are helpful as probiotics, while some are harmful as they cause tooth decay and gum disease.
Some easy and important steps to maintain health of mouth, teeth and gums are:
- Brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste for at least two minutes.
- Flossing in between your teeth – especially before bedtime.
- Using mouthwash at least once a week.
- Limiting sweets in between meals.
- Visiting your dentist every 6 months.
Let’s learn more about flossing.
Flossing removes bacteria, food particles and plaque that buildup in between your teeth that you may not see and toothbrush doesn’t reach. Flossing regularly prevents buildup of tartar. Brushing alone is not effective to remove all harmful bacteria and prevent gum disease. Plaque that remains in between teeth, turns hard and becomes tartar which is difficult to remove by brushing only and you need to visit dentist for scaling and polishing to get rid of tartar and calculus. Chronically unhealthy and inflamed gums cause loose teeth and eventually tooth loss. Good oral care routine protects against tooth decay and bleeding gums. Inflamed and bleeding gingiva is first stage of gum disease, which may cause worsening of cardiovascular and other systemic conditions.
Benefits Of Flossing
- Brushing twice daily, before bed time and after breakfast, and flossing regularly ensure appealing esthetics, cosmetic benefits and beautiful smile.
- Flossing improves your oral hygiene and makes you feel cleaner. Some people think that flossing hurts and will cause more bleeding. They need to understand if done properly, it will not hurt and bleeding is actually caused by the buildup of bacteria. Flossing actually removes that bacteria, so it is beneficial in the long run.
- Flossing helps in prevention of systemic diseases, especially cardiovascular diseases.
Best Time To Floss
According to dentists, flossing at night before brushing causes loosening of food debris in between teeth. Thereafter, brushing removes remaining bacteria and plaque and enables toothpaste to reach maximum surface area of your teeth. The fluoride in toothpaste leaves long lasting and greater effect on teeth enamel.
Flossing is a standard guideline approved by the American Dental Association as the most important part of oral care.
Some attention and proper flossing technique helps to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Here is a proper way to floss:
- Take 18-20 inches long floss. You can use waxed or unwaxed, mono or multifilament floss or dental tape.
- Wrap the floss around your middle finger, leaving only 1-2 inches in between to work with.
- Use your index finger and thumb to slide the floss in between your teeth following the gum line.
- Use clean section of floss for every tooth.
If you wear braces you can also floss to maintain good oral hygiene— use floss with stiff end or floss threader.
Electric flosser is another option to floss, especially in the back of your mouth. It provides the required pressure and the right amount of stimulation for healthy gingiva and proper cleaning.
Some people prefer dental floss picks or pre threaded floss over traditional flossing.
It takes little time and efforts to floss regularly, but it’s better to spend few minutes daily than to pay for fillings and extractions.
Dr. Nammy Patel is a Dentist. She is also a health council member at healthhunt.