Why Flossing your teeth is important
Well, to be honest, it is and it isn’t. If you floss as a standard part of your oral care regime, by all means, keep doing it – it does make a difference. However, if you’re not currently flossing on a regular basis, don’t fret; the ultimate benefits of flossing may not be all they’re cracked up to be.
What is flossing?
Essentially flossing is tooth brushing’s trusty sidekick in avoiding tooth decay. Brushing is largely a surface operation, be it orbital or up and down, designed to keep the front and back of our teeth free of the nasty bacteria that cause plaque. And, of course, if we allow plaque to build up on our teeth, that can lead to decay, fillings, crowns and other costly dental treatments.
The main problem with brushing is that it doesn’t adequately clean between teeth, especially when the gaps are minuscule and food particles can be trapped. Unfortunately, bacteria is pretty miniscule too and quite happy to ride out the brushing process before eating away at the inside edges of our teeth.
Flossing involves sliding a tiny length of hygienic string into those gaps and shunting out anything our toothbrush can’t reach.
So does flossing remove all the food that causes bacteria between teeth?
Yes, chances are flossing will remove residual food, but there’s a problem: it can’t be trusted to remove any bacteria that has already taken up residence between your teeth or along your gum line.
Why? Because dental floss is really just a piece of very fine string. It has none of the cleaning, whitening and plaque-fighting qualities of toothpaste and none of the anti-bacterial qualities of mouthwash. It’s just string and it’s not medicinal.
If bacteria has already set in between your teeth, floss might bully a little bit out if you’re lucky. Mostly though, it could actually just give the bacteria a piggyback ride, spreading it even further.
What’s the best plan of attack?
Flossing can still be a very worthy addition to your oral health armoury and is, from all accounts, a great way to maintain the gaps between healthy teeth. But that’s the operative word: healthy.
If you know your teeth aren’t in pristine shape and that there may be bacteria lurking in places you haven’t adequately reached in the past, see your dentist before you start flossing. They’ll fix any bacteria, remove plaque buildup and decay issues quick smart and get your mouth clean and healthy. Then and only then should you add flossing as an effective part of your daily dental regime.
However, if you’ve stuck to a regimented daily oral hygiene routine and know your teeth and gums are in good oral shape, regularly floss away!
If your teeth are free from bacteria and you keep them that way with brushing, flossing and antibacterial mouthwashes, you’ll have good reason to smile with fewer chances of periodontal disease.
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