Wellness

The Big Benefits of Dental Flossing

Young Asian woman looking at her teeth in the mirror.

Many people don’t like to floss their teeth. If they brush their teeth daily, they wonder why do they need to floss? Dentists say that toothbrushing and flossing work together to lower the risk of tooth decay. In addition, flossing can help reduce the chance of developing gum disease. Know the big benefits of dental flossing. Plus, review four tips to get the most out of it.

Only 16% of American adults floss daily, reports the American Dental Association. That may explain why nearly half of American adults have periodontitis (an infection in the tissues and bones that surround and support teeth). Medical researchers believe the primary benefits of dental flossing are that it can help prevent gum disease, also called periodontal disease.

There are two types of gum disease:

Gingivitis– Affects only the gum tissue surrounding teeth.

Periodontitis – Attacks bone and tissue under the gumline that supports teeth.

Oral bacteria can damage teeth and gums, cause gum disease and create bad breath. Food particles caught between teeth can attract oral bacteria, form plaque on teeth and cause decay. If left untreated, plaque can harden like cement and become tartar. It can irritate your teeth, damage roots and lead to serious dental problems.

Here are four tips to get the big benefits of dental flossing:

Floss first

Many people don’t floss every day, or they floss after brushing their teeth. If they don’t floss first, dentists say they aren’t getting the full value of flossing.

Studies show that flossing each day before brushing can help reduce the amount of plaque on teeth and along the gums.

Choose the right type of floss

Dental floss comes in different types and flavors. Use the type that best fits between your teeth.

People who have a lot of dental work, or don’t have much space between their teeth, should pick floss that will glide easily between their teeth. But for those with larger space between their teeth or who have gum disease, a thicker type of floss works best.

Don’t skimp on the floss

Use at least 18 to 24 inches of floss, so you have enough to reach back teeth. It may seem like a lot at first, but the benefits of dental flossing are worth it.

Here’s how it works. Hold the floss tightly with your thumbs and first fingers. As you floss, wind the used floss up while letting some clean floss unwind from your other hand. This way you’re always using clean floss.

Gently floss all tooth surfaces

Make sure to floss between and around each tooth. Gently hook the floss like a C around the tooth. Slide the floss up and down and around all tooth surfaces, even the hard-to-reach back molars. Avoid snapping the floss between teeth, though. Jerky, rough movements can cause the gums to bleed. If you struggle to floss your back teeth, try using a water flosser. Dentists say this tool can help flush out bacteria and plaque, especially in the back areas of the mouth.

By brushing and reaping the benefits of dental flossing, you can enjoy healthy teeth and gums throughout life. And if you aren’t sure which toothbrush, toothpaste or mouth rinse to buy, review the information in this blog.

Sources:
Healthline
WebMD
Colgate

  • Brian ,

    The importance of flossing is constantly stressed, yet many people continue to believe it’s entirely optional– good habits always start today! Avoiding flossing only hurts you.

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