You probably know that flossing should be part of your daily dental hygiene routine, yet only about 30% of the population in the United States floss daily. Another 37% floss occasionally, but not daily, and 32% don’t floss at all. When you go to the dentist for preventative care, your dental hygienist will most likely floss your teeth, and for some patients that may be the only time, but there are reasons to floss everyday.
Why should you floss every day?
Here are 5 reasons why your dentist recommends flossing on a daily basis.
- Clean between your teeth. When you brush your teeth you are able to remove food residue and plaque from the surface of your teeth. However, the tooth brush does not effectively reach the spaces between your teeth. Floss is able to get between your teeth to remove plaque, which most often settles there because it is an ideal place for bacteria to grow.
- Remove plaque from the spaces between your teeth and gums. Another of the hard to reach areas in your mouth are the spaces between your teeth and gums. There are pockets between the crown portion of the tooth and the gums where bacteria can gather. When you use proper technique, wrapping the floss partially around each tooth, you can get the floss down into those pockets to remove the plaque that settles there. This is one of the most important reasons to floss everyday.
- Prevent cavities. One of the most common places for cavities to develop is between the teeth. This often overlooked area is highly susceptible to cavities because plaque gathers between the teeth and slowly eats away at the enamel. Flossing can remove this plaque and prevent cavities from developing between your teeth.
- Prevent gum disease. When plaque settles into the spaces between the gums and the teeth, it can cause gum disease. Gum disease is a bacterial infection of the gum tissue that occurs when plaque gathers along the gum line and remains there for too long. Plaque is made of bacteria, and once those bacteria remain long enough to reach a certain level of maturity, they become much more harmful. Flossing properly will remove plaque before it can cause gum disease. It also makes your gums stronger and more resilient to infection.
- Freshen your breath. Another benefit to flossing is that your breath will be fresher. Brushing your teeth may remove some of the food and bacteria from your mouth, but flossing will remove even more, helping prevent bad breath. And as stated previously, flossing helps to prevent gum disease, of which bad breath is a common symptom. The cleaner your mouth overall, the fresher your breath will be.
What Type of Floss Should You Use?
Dentists typically recommend using string floss over flossing sticks or plackers. This is because proper flossing technique involves wrapping the floss part way around each tooth to reach the spaces between the teeth and gums. String floss can be waxed or unwaxed, whichever you prefer. Super floss is wider and spongy for teeth with larger spaces between them.
For situations where flossing is difficult or not possible, a waterpik is a helpful tool. A waterpik sprays a high pressure, concentrated stream of water that is capable of getting into the spaces between your teeth to remove plaque. But it still doesn’t remove quite as much as floss.
Flossing and Brushing: Which Should Be First?
Most dentists recommend flossing before you brush your teeth for a couple of reasons. For one, flossing loosens up plaque from your teeth that can then be brushed away. Another reason to floss first is that you are less likely to forget. Once you form the habit of flossing before brushing, you’ll be more likely to get it done.
Creekview Dental Provides Comprehensive Dental Services
Now that you know why you should floss every day, you should also know the importance of regular dental visits. Creekview Dental provides preventative care and a wide range of dental care services. For people with healthy gums and low risk factors, the American Dental Association recommends going to the dentist for regular cleanings and oral exams every 6 months. Patients with gum disease and/or high risk factors may need cleanings every 3 to 4 months. Even if you do floss daily, professional cleanings are an important part of your dental health.
Call 651-738-8204 or contact us to schedule an appointment.