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Posted on: April 26, 2021
Why Flossing Is A Must, Not A Maybe
Although brushing and flossing are probably at the bottom of your list of exciting things to do, they’re essential to the health of your teeth and gums as well as your overall health. For years, we were told to brush twice daily for good dental health, but that’s not enough. You also need to floss when you brush. At a minimum, you should floss before bedtime each night and make sure not to eat anything after you floss.
Surprisingly, that small strand of dental floss or the lightweight floss pick can remove the plaque that’s settled between your teeth and make a significant difference, not only in your oral health, but in your physical health as well. If not removed, the plaque caused by bacteria in your mouth will begin to cause decay and disease, and the resulting damage can leave you toothless.
When you eat or drink substances that are high in sugars and carbohydrates, the sugars are converted into acids that will erode your tooth enamel. The acids are soon converted into plaque that begins to cause decay. If plaque isn’t removed, then it can cause swollen gums, cavities, and gingivitis. This can all be avoided by a regular and proper regimen of brushing and flossing at least twice daily.
Since oral health has been directly linked to physical health, good oral hygiene can help your body stay healthier. Serious diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and pneumonia have all been linked to periodontal disease or gum disease. When periodontal disease remains untreated, the inflammation and bacteria will spread throughout your body via the bloodstream. This progress disease can destroy your facial structure and your jawbone if you don’t visit the dentist in time. Yes, tooth disease and decay are that serious, especially when it begins as something as preventable as gingivitis. The simple act of flossing can remove the bacteria that cause the inflammation and infections that adversely affect your health. Taking proper care of your mouth can help you live longer and be healthier and happier!
People who are in a high-risk category for developing cavities and gingivitis are especially vulnerable to the effects of poor oral health, so they should be especially attentive to flossing. Some prescription medications cause low levels of saliva, which can contribute to poor oral health. Your saliva helps keep your mouth clean and lowers your level of bacteria, which is essential if you’re to prevent cavities and gingivitis. If you have a dry mouth, talk to your dentist about your options for good oral hygiene.
Knowing that you need to floss is vital, but the technique is equally important. To floss correctly, hold a long strand of floss at each end, and wrap it once or twice around each index finger to create tension so the strong can easily fit between the teeth. Lower the floss between the teeth until it touches your gums, and then pull it back and forth and up and down. Although the technique is important, use the motion that works best for you. The objective is to remove the plaque and particles from the crevices between your teeth. You should use a fresh length of floss for each section. Thoroughly rinse your mouth after flossing to remove any debris.
Kid’s Teeth Need Flossing Too!
Regular flossing is as essential for kids as it is for adults. It will train them in lifelong, good oral hygiene habits as well as eliminate problems in the future. In fact, flossing once daily is the equivalent of brushing two times, according to many dentists. Making a game of the flossing procedure may entice your kids to floss more frequently.
Five Fun Ways To Motivate Kids To Floss
- Floss for prizes: Hang a flossing chart on the bathroom wall and place a sticker every time your child flosses. Incentives are also helpful, such as getting to stay up late or going to a movie after flossing for so many days in a row.
- Use special flossing tools: Kids’ flossing tools are smaller, some glow in the dark, and many come in bright colors or patterns.
- Be creative: Make flossing a party with a song or a story, or another type of activity.
- Be lavish with praise: Positive reinforcement is always helpful and will make your kids feel good about themselves and their new habit.
- Do as I do: Lead by example. You can’t reinforce the benefits of flossing when you don’t floss. Make flossing a family activity and provide rewards for everyone.
Four Easy Steps To Foolproof Flossing
According to the American Dental Association, flossing is a simple procedure that involves only four steps.
- Wind: Use about 18 inches of dental floss and use your thumbs and index fingers to grasp it firmly at either end. Pull it taut.
- Guide: Your index fingers should control the motion of your floss between the bottom and top of each tooth.
- Glide: Gently move the floss between each of your teeth using a gliding motion.
- Slide: Use a fresh section of floss for each tooth and continue to move it up and down and over the surfaces of the teeth. Be sure to address the gum line also since this area is prone to attract bacteria.
Alternatives to Traditional Dental Floss
For those who dislike traditional dental floss, there are alternatives available. Hand-held flossers are used in a manner similar to regular dental floss, but you hold the handle of the flosser rather than the floss. Electric flossers are available, as are flossing picks. Whatever your preference, there’s sure to be a flossing solution for you and your kids.
If you have braces or other types of dental work, be careful not to let the floss get tangled into it. Your dentist can demonstrate special orthodontic floss or floss threaders if you need to work in a small space. Although it’s essential to floss, you need to avoid damaging the surrounding teeth.
Getting into the habit of flossing every day may take dedication initially, but soon it will be a habit that you wouldn’t dream of breaking. If you have questions about the flossing procedure or form, call College Park Dental at (301) 238-7083, and we’ll be happy to help you.