Do you always feel like you have an excuse to not floss? A survey taken in 2008 discovered that less than half of Americans floss daily, and as much as one in ten people never floss. It’s time to stop making excuses, as dental professionals say that flossing can be more important than even brushing for the prevention of gum (periodontal) disease and tooth loss. Dentists hear a variety of excuses to not floss, but none of them are valid, read on to learn more about just how important this daily activity is, and some tips on improving your flossing.
Many people reach for a piece of floss when food is stuck in their teeth, but the main purpose of floss is to remove plaque. Plaque is a buildup of bacteria on the surface of your teeth, which increases due to food consumption and time between cleanings. Plaque is the chief cause of gum disease, tooth decay, bleeding gums, and tooth loss. Flossing is the most effective way to clean plaque from between your teeth.
If you find your gums in pain, or even bleeding, while you are flossing, there is a high chance that you may have gum disease, or gingivitis. Flossing is one of the main tools against gum disease, and if you are experiencing pain (while properly flossing) then daily brushing and flossing should correct the problem quickly. If the pain continues, please contact us and set up an appointment.
Flossing only takes a few minutes a day
Proper flossing only takes three to give minutes, and studies have shown that even as little as sixty seconds of flossing has enormous benefits. Flossing should be a part of your daily dental hygiene routine, and making it a habit is the best way to keep it up. If you are having problems remembering to floss, make sure to keep your floss next to your toothbrush and toothpaste in plain view. If you find yourself stretched for time, keep dental floss sticks (such as Stim-U-Dents or Soft-Picks) in your car and use them while you are stuck in traffic. Just make sure to pay attention to the road and never in a moving vehicle!
Some people claim that flossing isn’t easy, and that may be true. It requires practice and attention.
Here’s how the American Dental Association describes proper flossing technique:
- Start with about 18 inches of floss. Wrap most of it around the middle finger of one hand, the rest around the other middle finger.
- Grasp the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers, and use a gentle shoeshine motion to guide it between teeth.
- When the floss reaches the gum line, form a C shape to follow the contours of the tooth.
- Hold the floss firmly against the tooth, and move the floss gently up and down.
- Repeat with the other tooth, and then repeat the entire process with the rest of your teeth (“unspooling” fresh sections of floss as you go along).
Don’t forget your back molars, as dental professionals agree that the majority of decay and most gum diseases start in the back of your mouth.
If you need information on flossing or different flossing devices, or just need a regularly scheduled cleaning, it’s time to set up an appointment with Irvine Dentist Dr. Neda Khodai. Call us at 949-553-1111 or click below to get in touch with Barranca Dental Excellence.