Is Flossing Necessary? Why You Shouldn’t Stop Flossing Your Teeth
Yes, we know – you’ve read somewhere that flossing isn’t effective. However, as your dentist, we’re sticking to our guns. Flossing is important for your dental health, and you should continue flossing at least once a day! Here’s why flossing matters and why it can protect your teeth and gums.
Flossing may seem like a hassle or a boring waste of time, but it can significantly improve your oral health. When you feel tempted to forget about it for good, consider what flossing can do for your teeth and gums. Flossing is the best way for you to keep the spaces between your teeth clean. It removes plaque and bits of food between your teeth. It goes right to the gumline for a complete level of cleaning.
Flossing can help you get rid of soreness and redness in your gums. In fact, with proper brushing and flossing, your gums will look pink and healthy, while your teeth will be cleaner in the in-between spaces. Then, you can keep your teeth and gums healthy with routine dental care.
What Happens When You Don’t Floss?
Your oral health deteriorates if you give up flossing. Left-behind food and plaque harden and cause decay and gum disease. You are more vulnerable to cavities and may develop a serious case of bad breath due to the old food that remains between your teeth.
You may need more fillings or other dental procedures to deal with dental pain caused by cavities. Your gums may even begin to bleed. Eventually, if you continue to neglect your mouth, you could end up with a need for a root canal, dentures, or implants.
Why Isn’t Brushing Enough?
Developing the habit of brushing your teeth every day is a good first step. However, a brush can never do as good a job as floss in getting to the food and plaque between your teeth. Flossing is still the best way to clean those spaces. In short, brushing is important, but so is flossing! Our blog, 5 Tips for Preventing Gum Disease, includes flossing because it is an important part of oral hygiene.
The Costs of Neglecting Your Teeth
Many people who have experienced it say that the most overwhelming cost of neglecting your teeth and gums is the loss of your teeth. You may find it hard to chew or speak without a full set of teeth. The pain of cavities and gum disease add to the personal cost. After all, when your teeth hurt, it’s hard to concentrate or have a good time. Your whole life can be affected!
Besides these personal costs, you must also consider the financial costs of not flossing. If a particle of food gets stuck between your teeth and you don’t get it out, you may need more dental procedures.
At SADC, we keep your costs as low as possible. We accept most major dental insurances and offer the SADC Dental Savings Plan to help you manage those costs. However, if you can prevent cavities and gum disease in the first place, you can keep your dental care costs even lower. Flossing is one way to make that happen.
What Type of Floss Should You Use?
There are so many types of floss on the market that it may be difficult to decide which type to use. Some types of floss are best in certain situations. Others are general-purpose flosses that could work for most people. If you haven’t tried these types of floss, you can always try out various kinds or just ask your dentist which one is right given your oral health condition.
Thread floss is the most common type, with two variations – waxed and unwaxed. Both are made of nylon thread, but waxed has a thin wax coating. Waxed floss is a tiny bit thicker, but gliding it between close-together teeth is still easy. Waxed flosses often have flavoring. Both of these types are effective, but you might prefer one over the other. The best way to find out is to try both!
Floss picks have a handle connected to a flosser. The flosser comes with dental floss attached. These are great for on-the-go flossing. They’re also helpful for people with arthritis or other hand problems.
Super floss works best for people who have wide gaps between their teeth. It’s also good for people who have implants, braces, or bridges. This floss has a stiff end, a spongy center that removes plaque, and regular floss for ordinary flossing. You don’t have to worry about getting the right amount of super floss because it comes in pre-cut lengths.
Floss threaders are ideal for people with braces, retainers, and bridges. A floss threader has a plastic needle with an eye that helps you get the floss between tight places. The threader doesn’t come with floss, so you purchase it separately.
Water flossers flush debris from between your teeth using pressurized water. They are effective and easy to use. They work well for people who have trouble getting floss between their teeth and along the gumline.
An air flosser is a device that uses microburst technology to clean between your teeth with compressed air and droplets of water. Unlike water flossers, air flossers use a precise amount of water to make them less messy. You can even add warm water to make the experience more comfortable.
What Is the Best Way to Floss?
The best way to learn how to floss properly is to ask your dentist or dental hygienist to teach you. It’s not difficult and can help you prevent tooth decay, tooth loss, and gum disease. Here’s a brief description of how to do it.
Get 18 inches of floss and wind it between your two middle fingers.
Use your thumbs to guide about 1 to 2 inches between your teeth.
Use a zigzag motion to guide the floss to make a C-shaped path around your tooth.
Move the floss up and down against the tooth surface and below the gum line.
Do the same with the backs of your teeth.
Use a clean section of the 18-inch strand of floss for each tooth.
When Should You Floss?
Floss at least once a day. It’s best to floss before you brush so you can brush away any debris the floss has brought out. Brushing and flossing daily can help you avoid a toothache that becomes a dental emergency.
Your SADC Dentist Has the Answers!
At SADC, we recognize the oral health problems that come from poor dental hygiene. We are happy to provide dental care and advise you on the best ways to care for your teeth and gums. Whether you have severe dental problems or want to prevent them, we are your go-to dental clinic in Anchorage, Alaska!Would you like to improve your oral health and create a winning smile? Set up an appointment with us at SADC today!