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Why Flossing Is a Must, Not a Maybe

Reasons Why You Should Always Floss

It’s no secret that brushing is important for maintaining the health of your teeth and gums, but did you know that brushing alone doesn’t keep your entire mouth clean? Cleaning between your teeth daily with dental floss is a critical component of good oral health. Flossing reaches parts of your mouth that a toothbrush simply cannot reach very well, such as between your teeth and above and below the gum line. Still not convinced that you should add flossing to your daily routine? Keep reading to find out about some of the amazing benefits of daily flossing.

Prevent Tartar Buildup

Tartar is hardened plaque, and it’s a common problem for many adults. Tartar commonly forms around the gum line, and it can only be removed by a dental professional. However, daily flossing helps you remove the plaque from your teeth and gum line before it can harden into tartar. Plaque is a thin film of bacteria that can leave your teeth feeling sticky. Since plaque is soft and pliable, it’s easily removed by daily brushing and flossing.

Reduce the Risk of Gingivitis and Gum Disease

The bacteria found in tartar and plaque also contribute to the development of an infection called gingivitis, which is the earliest stage of gum disease. Bacteria harms sensitive gum tissue and causes inflammation. If your gums are red, puffy, or bleed while you brush or floss, you may already have gingivitis. Diligent flossing and brushing at home can successfully reverse gingivitis, but it can progress to periodontitis if you neglect your oral health.

Periodontitis greatly increases your risk of suffering from tooth loss, so it’s important to prioritize flossing. Doing so can eliminate bacteria from the gum line before it can cause inflammation and cause gingivitis.

Prevent Tooth Decay and Cavities

The bacteria present in plaque are very acidic, and they can damage tooth enamel when left to accumulate on your teeth. As these acids slowly wear away and weaken your tooth enamel, you’re at a greater risk for tooth decay and cavities. A cavity is a hole that develops on the surface of your tooth, and it requires prompt treatment from a dentist. Regular flossing can help you prevent the overgrowth of plaque bacteria and save yourself from the pain and sensitivity caused by tooth decay and cavities.

Prevent Bad Breath

Daily flossing can help prevent bad breath since it removes hidden food particles and bacteria from between your teeth and along the gum line before they can cause odors. When paired with brushing twice daily, flossing can help promote fresh-smelling breath and strong, healthy teeth.

Prevent Other Diseases

Extensive research has revealed that the inflammation that is found inside an unhealthy mouth can negatively affect the rest of the body. If you have gum disease, this unhealthy level of bacteria in your mouth can raise your risk of serious health problems, including respiratory diseases, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. By flossing at least once a day, you can maintain your gum health and reduce your risk of developing long-term health complications.

Flossing Is Also Important for Kids

The American Dental Association (ADA) suggests that you can start flossing your child’s teeth when they have two teeth that touch. Every child is different, but this can occur anytime between the ages of two and six. Although these are baby teeth, it’s still important to take care of them by maintaining proper oral hygiene as your child needs these teeth until their permanent teeth erupt. Caring for their baby teeth will ensure that your child’s permanent teeth develop without any issues.

How Can I Encourage My Child to Floss?

Teaching children to floss is an essential habit, although it can be challenging at first, especially when they are young. Follow these simple tips to help make flossing a fun and enjoyable activity that your child looks forward to:

  1. Make flossing a family event: Turn flossing into a nightly ritual for your entire family. Doing so not only helps your family develop a healthy habit, but you’ll also serve as a role model by prioritizing daily flossing.
  2. Make flossing a game: Create a silly story to make flossing more entertaining, such as a flossing superhero who fights plaque and tooth decay from harming people’s teeth. You can also play a lively song and dance around the bathroom during flossing.
  3. Offer rewards: Small, frequent rewards can provide the motivation kids need to floss every day. Give your kids a reward when they floss for a specific number of days in a row, such as stickers or a special bedtime story for younger kids. Older kids can receive a trip to the movies or stay up past their bedtime as a reward.
  4. Let your child choose: Most adults use plain floss, but options for kids come in a range of colors and flavors. They can even choose floss sticks. They’re small and easy to hold, which makes it easy for kids to floss all of their teeth.

Techniques to Help You Floss Correctly

Making sure you are using the correct technique is important for flossing effectively. To effectively clean between your teeth and along the gum line, follow these steps:

  1. Take about 18-24 inches of dental floss and wind most of it around the middle finger of each hand.
  2. Gently slide the dental floss between your teeth as you hold the floss tautly between your index fingers and thumbs.
  3. Create a C-shape with the floss as you glide it against the surface of each tooth.
  4. Move the floss up and down against each tooth to effectively clean above and below the gum line.
  5. Repeat this process as you floss each tooth. Always use a clean section of floss as you progress to each tooth.
  6. Don’t forget to floss all sides of your back teeth.

By repeating this process every day, flossing will soon become a habit, and you’ll be able to feel proud about engaging in an activity that greatly benefits the health of your teeth and gums. If you have any questions about how to improve your flossing form, don’t hesitate to call our office to make an appointment.

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