05 July 2023
Good dental hygiene is essential for maintaining a healthy mouth. While brushing your teeth twice daily is considered the foundation of dental care, flossing should also be part of your daily oral care routine. Flossing offers numerous benefits for your teeth and gums, and it only takes a few minutes each day. Hint - one may even brighten your smile!
What is Flossing?
Flossing is a simple task that involves using dental floss, which is a thin cord of plastic or waxed thread, to clean between the teeth and below the gum line. There are many types of floss, including nylon floss, interdental brush, and even water flossers. The purpose of flossing is to remove plaque buildup and bits of food particles that have become lodged in these areas where your toothbrush bristles can’t reach.
While the ADA, the American Dental Association, recommends that you brush your teeth twice a day, they say daily flossing is fine as long as both are completed thoroughly. The time of day is a personal preference with many people choosing to build it into their oral hygiene routine a couple of minutes before bed. Regular flossing as part of a daily routine is a vital part of oral health.
The Health Benefits of Flossing
While it may seem like an extra and unnecessary step, flossing is a vital part of good dental hygiene. The University of Illinois, Chicago suggests that you floss prior to brushing to loosen particles ensuring an in-depth cleaning. No matter the order, here are 8 benefits of flossing your teeth.
1. Removes plaque and bacteria
Flossing effectively eliminates plaque, bacteria, and food particles lodged between your teeth and along the gum line. Plaque forms in these hard-to-reach areas and can cause tooth decay or gum disease if not adequately removed.
2. Prevents cavities
Plaque can build up along the gum line and between teeth and cause cavities. Flossing helps to remove plaque from these areas, thus reducing your risk of developing cavities.
3. Keeps breath fresh
Bacteria can accumulate in the mouth and cause bad breath. Flossing helps to remove bacteria from between the teeth, as well as food particles that can cause a foul odor.
4. Reduces inflammation
Flossing can help to reduce gum inflammation, which is a common symptom of gum disease. Gum inflammation can be indicative of many other health problems and increases the risk of heart disease. Keeping your mouth healthy has surprising benefits to your physical health and heart health!
5. Prevents gum disease
Gum disease is a common condition where the gums become infected due to the buildup of plaque. Flossing is an effective way to remove plaque and bacteria from between your teeth and along the gum line, which can help reduce your risk of developing gum and periodontal disease. When left untreated periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss and tooth decay.
6. Brightens Your Smile
Regular brushing and flossing of your teeth can improve their appearance by removing plaque and food particles that may not be visible in the mirror or reachable by your toothbrush. Oral B likens it to a carpet before and after you vacuum. Although dust and dirt may not be immediately visible, vacuuming effectively eliminates them, resulting in a visibly brighter and cleaner-looking carpet.The same principle is applicable to flossing. With proper care, you can keep your healthy, bright smile.
7. Prevents tartar buildup
Tartar, or calculus, is a hard deposit that forms on teeth over time and can be difficult to remove. Flossing helps to prevent tartar from forming in between the teeth and along the gum line.
8. Improves overall health
Flossing helps to reduce inflammation in the mouth, which can lead to improved overall health. Research shows that gum disease has been linked to serious health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, and respiratory diseases.
Tips for Incorporating Daily Flossing Into Your Routine
Daily flossing can help keep your teeth and gums healthy, but it can be hard to remember to do it every day. Here are some tips to help make flossing an easy and enjoyable part of your daily routine to keep healthy teeth:
1. Choose the right floss for you
There are lots of types of floss, so make sure you find the one that works best for you. Try different kinds and colors to find what you like best. You can also try interdental cleaners like a dental pick or an oral irrigator. These are effective tools to keep your teeth healthy.
2. Set an alarm
Setting a reminder on your phone or watch can help remind you to floss every day.
3. Set up reminders
Ask a friend or family member to remind you to floss or put a note in a visible spot like the bathroom mirror.
4. Make flossing fun
Try listening to music or playing a game while you floss to make it more enjoyable.
5. Reward yourself
Once you’ve developed a consistent habit, reward yourself with something special for sticking to it.
6. Remember why it's important
Not only does flossing clean your teeth but also gives you fresh breath!
By flossing regularly, visiting a dental professional, and staying on top of your dental health, you can help keep your gums healthy and reduce your risk of developing these serious medical problems.