Even if you’re already flossing twice daily as recommended by dentists worldwide, you may not be doing enough to counter the threat of tooth decay and gum disease. Although brushing is an integral part of your oral hygiene regimen, flossing regularly is just as important. Brushing can only remove the plaque-forming particles and the bacteria feeding on them that are easiest to reach.
These bacteria, mostly harmless if kept in check, feed on the plaque, releasing digestive acids that can also eat your tooth enamel. If this process is allowed to continue, it will eventually result in cavities — holes in your tooth enamel that allow bacteria inside the tooth, making it vulnerable to infection. The most likely spots for cavities are between the teeth and just below the gum line where it is difficult to brush effectively.
Dr. Jason Baldwin, a respected dentist of Truckee, CA would like to take a few moments to educate his patients on the benefits of flossing.
Why Is Flossing So Important?
Flossing can be the difference between a successful check-up with your dentist and the need for fillings or other treatments to stop or reverse tooth decay. Flossing removes the plaque that your toothbrush misses in places like between your teeth or under the gum line. However, it is very important that you are properly flossing for it to be effective.
Flossing can help you prevent tooth decay and possibly avoid painful, time-consuming and potentially costly dental procedures that can become necessary when tooth decay is allowed to flourish unchecked between teeth.
How to Floss Correctly
- Wrap around your middle fingers a length of floss about eighteen inches long. Use your thumbs and forefingers to move the floss. You should wind more floss around one finger than the other so you can wind the already used floss toward the finger with less floss wrapped around it and access a fresh length.
- Squeeze the length of floss between two teeth and use a gentle “sawing” (back and forth) motion all the way from the top of the teeth down to their base where they erupt from your gums to remove food particles, plaque and bacteria.
- Wrap the floss around the side of one tooth in a “U” shape then gently slide up and down your tooth. Repeat this several times, making sure to go slightly underneath the gum-line, then repeat on the other side of the tooth. Do this for each tooth.
- Don’t worry too much if you see that your gums are bleeding as you floss. A little bleeding is perfectly normal if you don’t floss regularly. This bleeding is due to irritation and inflammation caused by the bacteria and plaque already there. If you continue flossing daily as recommended by your dentist, you should see an improvement in the health of gums in one to two weeks.
Floss Picks Are Less Effective Than You Think
Many people prefer to use the floss picks that are now widely available at most drug stores. These “Y” shaped pieces of plastic with floss strung between the “arms” of the “Y” are designed to make flossing easier for consumers. However, the American Dental Association would prefer their patients use a length of “free” floss and their hands. Floss picks aren’t able to wrap around a tooth in the “U” shape recommended so you won’t truly be able to floss properly with them, however, it’s still better than not flossing at all.
Schedule An Appointment With Your Dentist
Dr. Baldwin and most dentists agree that you should floss after you brush to reduce the amount of plaque that the flossing will need to remove. If you have any additional questions about brushing, flossing or your oral health, call (530) 206-039 or schedule an appointment online with Dr. Baldwin in Truckee, CA in the Lake Tahoe area today.