FLOSSING: We often get asked questions such as how often should I floss, is flossing necessary, and what teeth should I floss ? Our response is the cliche used by dentists the world over. You should only floss the teeth you want to keep! You see next to brushing, flossing is the most important thing that you can do to ensure good oral health.
The purpose of both brushing and flossing is to reduce the number of bacteria which inhabit our mouths. Normally, millions of these microscopic monsters call your mouth home, feeding on food particles left on our teeth.
Ungrateful guests, these bacteria produce acid as a result of their feasting and it is this acid which eats into tooth enamel creating cavities. If this wasn’t bad enough, the bacteria also pour out volatile sulfur compounds creating embarrassing bad breath.
Normally bacteria are found within a mesh of mucus and debris known as plaque. Regular brushing removes the plaque and the bacteria plaque contains. Unfortunately, many people only brush, forgetting that flossing is a key component to any good oral hygiene program.
Flossing removes the bacteria that escape the toothbrush by hiding in the tiny spaces in between teeth. Brushing without flossing is like washing only 65% of your body. The other 35% remains dirty! The American Dental Association recommends that you floss at least once a day.
What happens if you don’t floss?
If you do not floss and allow plaque to remain in between teeth it eventually hardens into a substance known as tartar. Unlike plaque which can be easily removed by brushing, tartar can only be removed by your dentist.
Over time, levels of more dangerous types of bacteria build up within tartar. Mean and vengeful, these bacteria produce toxins which irritate and inflame the gums. This condition is known as gingivitis. If gingivitis is left untreated it can progress to periodontal disease - a condition where bacteria and their toxins invade not only the gums but also the bones and the structures supporting the teeth. This can lead to bone loss, loose teeth, and teeth which fall out.
We recommend Glide or any other coated dental floss because they slide easily between teeth. However, any floss that you can get between your teeth and which does not fray or break easily is good.
Alternatively, if you don’t like using dental floss, consider an interdental cleaner (electric flosser) which makes flossing easy and convenient.
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If you haven’t flossed in a while, you may see a little red tinge of blood on the floss after you use it. This indicates that your gums are slightly inflamed and vastly in need of flossing to remove bacteria. With a regular regimen of flossing this red tinge should go away.
By brushing and flossing we help to eliminate the bacteria which can lead to bad breath, gingivitis, and periodontal disease thus creating smiles which last a lifetime.