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Why Flossing Is a Must, Not a Maybe

Five Benefits of Flossing

Do you floss your teeth every day? If so, you can take pride in knowing that you’re practicing a healthy habit that greatly benefits your oral health. If you don’t floss every day, you might be surprised to learn that you’re not fully cleaning your teeth, even if you brush twice a day. Just how important is daily flossing? According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), flossing regularly is the single most important thing you can do to fight against plaque. Keep reading to discover why flossing is a habit you should be engaging in every day.

Flossing Prevents Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease, and it’s primarily caused by the development of plaque and bacteria in your mouth. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on your teeth daily. The bacteria in plaque produce toxins that irritate and inflame your delicate gum tissue. This can cause you to experience symptoms of gingivitis, such as swollen, red gums that bleed when you brush or floss.

While daily brushing can remove plaque bacteria, your toothbrush can only do so much. Flossing allows you to reach areas of your mouth that can’t be reached by your toothbrush, such as between the teeth and under the gum line. One of the easiest ways to prevent gingivitis is by flossing daily.

Flossing Prevents Bad Breath

If you have food particles trapped between your teeth, they can release bacteria that cause bad breath. Flossing your teeth every day can remove food debris from between your teeth before it has a chance to cause your breath to smell unpleasant.

Flossing Prevents Tartar Buildup

If plaque isn’t removed from your teeth every day, it hardens into a substance called tartar. Tartar can form above and below the gum line and can lead to the development of gum disease and even receding gums. It can only be removed by your dentist or dental hygienist. Diligent flossing can remove plaque as it forms each day and prevents the development of tartar.

Flossing Prevents Cavities

If not removed daily, plaque can also contribute to tooth decay and the development of cavities. The bacteria in plaque feed on the sugars and starches in many foods and drinks. When this occurs, plaque bacteria release an acidic substance that destroys tooth enamel and creates tiny holes, or cavities. To reduce your risk of tooth decay, make flossing a part of your daily routine.

Flossing Can Promote a Healthier Body

Increasing evidence suggests that poor oral health may be a contributing factor to a variety of health problems, including stroke, heart disease, and respiratory problems. Poor oral health may also make certain pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes, more difficult to manage. Researchers believe the link lies between the inflammation caused by bacteria buildup in the mouth.

Flossing is also especially important if you suffer from a dry mouth, which can make you more susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease. Saliva continually washes away bacteria and food particles, but if you have reduced saliva, you’re not able to receive all of the benefits that saliva provides. This makes flossing even more important if you have a health condition or take a prescription medication that causes dry mouth as a side effect.

With so many positive benefits, it’s easy to see why flossing should be a habit you practice daily.

When Should Children Start Flossing?

Parents should start teaching their kids to floss as soon as they have two teeth that touch together. For most children, this happens by the time they’re two to three years old. Even though these are baby teeth that will fall out and be replaced with permanent teeth, they’re still important to take care of properly. Doing so will ensure that your child’s adult teeth will grow in without any issues, such as cavities.

Easy Ways to Get Kids Flossing

If your kids start flossing at a young age, they’ll be more likely to stick with it throughout their lives. To make it easier to get your kids into flossing, follow these tips:

  1. Establish a reward system: Encourage your child to floss daily by creating a flossing chart. Add a sticker to the chart each time your child flosses. Offer a fun reward for flossing a specific number of days in a row as an incentive to keep flossing.
  2. Floss together: To help your kids understand the importance of flossing, make it a family event. You can demonstrate the proper flossing technique, and everyone can enjoy the reward of a healthy mouth.
  3. Let children choose their floss: Have your child pick out the type and flavor of floss they want to use. They can also choose child-friendly floss sticks, which usually come in several different colors, shapes, and flavors.
  4. Turn flossing into a game: By making floss time into game time, flossing can be a fun activity your child looks forward to. Create a make-believe story where your child is a superhero who fights off cavities by flossing.

How to Floss Your Teeth

Even if you think that you don’t have enough time to floss, it really only takes a few minutes a day. To make sure that you receive the maximum benefits flossing provides, follow these easy-to-follow steps:

  1. Break off about 18-24 inches of floss, winding most of it around both of your middle fingers.
  2. Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and index fingers. Carefully guide the dental floss between your teeth, and gently run the floss up and down the surface of each tooth.
  3. Curve the floss into a C-shape against the tooth to clean along the gum line.
  4. To avoid damaging your gum tissue, make sure you don’t snap or force the floss between your teeth.
  5. As you move from tooth to tooth, use a clean section of floss.
  6. Repeat this process on each tooth.

Now that you know how to floss your teeth correctly, it’s important to make it a habit that you perform every day. For more advice on proper flossing form, give our office a call to schedule an appointment.

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