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The Importance Of Flossing

The Importance Of Flossing

More reasons why you should floss…

Most people know they should floss and dentists are constantly trying to remind us. However, the relief of leaving the dentist’s chair often occupies the mind so much so, that many of us don’t pay attention to those last bits of advice being offered to you, those bits of advice that often include, “Don’t forget to floss every day.”

importance of flossing The Importance Of Flossing

Reasons Why You Should Floss

But why I hear you ask? You clean your teeth twice everyday and have never had any problems before, so why should you start flossing now? Well you’re not alone in thinking that, Alla Wheeler, RDH, MPA, associate professor of the Dental Hygiene Program at the New York University School of Dentistry explained:

“There is no instant gratification with flossing — that’s the problem. Patients don’t think it does anything.”

But in fact, flossing does about 40% of the work required to remove sticky bacteria, or plaque, from your teeth. And as we know plaque generates acid, which can lead to cavities and gum disease. Wheeler continues:

“Each tooth has five surfaces. If you don’t floss, you are leaving at least two of the surfaces unclean…

“Floss is the only thing that can really get into that space between the teeth and remove bacteria.”

Flossing, Wheeler added, might also be an overlooked fountain of youth. Gum disease can ruin the youthful aesthetics of your smile by eating away at gums and teeth. It also attacks the bones that support your teeth and the lower third of your face. People who preserve the height of that bone by flossing look better as they age.

Choosing the right floss

Most floss is made of either nylon or Teflon, and both are equally effective. People with larger spaces between their teeth or with gum recession (loss of gum tissue, which exposes the roots of the teeth) tend to get better results with a flat, wide dental tape. If your teeth are close together, try thin floss (sometimes made of Gore-Tex) that bills itself as shred resistant.

If you have bridges of braces you can use a floss threader, which looks like a plastic sewing needle. Or you can use products like Super Floss, floss similar to shoe lace with one stiff end that makes threading the floss easier.

The most important thing, though, is to choose floss you’ll use. “I tell my patients, ‘I don’t care if you use shoe laces as long as you floss,’” Wheeler says. (Just kidding, of course.)

Flossing Tips

Edmond Hewlett, DDS, associate professor of restorative dentistry at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Dentistry, explains how you should go about flossing:

  • Perfect your flossing technique. Use a piece of floss 15 to 18 inches long, slide it between the teeth, wrap it around each tooth in the shape of a “C,”and polish with an up and down motion.
  • Don’t worry about a little blood. “Bleeding means the gums are inflamed because plaque has built up and needs to be cleaned away. Don’t let that deter you,” Hewlett advises. Bleeding after a few days, however, could be a sign of periodontal disease. Talk to your dentist.
  • Get a floss holder. If you lack the hand dexterity to floss, try soft wooden plaque removers, which look similar to toothpicks, or a two-pronged plastic floss holder. Both allow you to clean between teeth with one hand.

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