Why Flossing is Important – Oral Hygiene

There's no shortage of conversations across the Internet about flossing and whether you should do it or not. However, any dentist will tell you, flossing is an integral part of your oral health habits, and there are several reasons why. The American Dental Association (ADA) also recommends flossing at least once per day.

 

So what is flossing, and why is it important?

What is flossing?

 

Flossing is the exercise of removing bacteria and plaque build-up from between the teeth and gums. You do this by using floss, a thin, soft thread, or small brushes designed to fit through the small gaps between each tooth. There are also electronic water flossers you can buy.

Why is flossing important for a healthy smile?

Prevents gum disease

 

Even if you can't see them, there are tiny gaps between your teeth where food and bacteria get stuck. If you don't floss, this bacteria builds up and can affect not only your teeth but also your gums. The build-up of bacteria in these areas can lead to an inflammatory response, which, according to the American Academy of Periodontology, can lead to gum disease.

 

Gum disease is also known as gingivitis or periodontal disease. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease and showcased by gum inflammation. You may also experience bleeding and receding gums. If this is left untreated, periodontitis can form. If gum disease advances to this stage, the inner layer of the gums starts to pull away and can form pockets where bacteria can form, which potentially leads to infection in the gum tissue. In severe cases, gum disease can lead to tooth loss.

 

By flossing, you ensure that any bacteria and debris is reduced between the teeth. Flossing will also help to avoid issues such as bleeding gums, receding gums, and tooth and bone loss.

Reduces tooth decay

 

Any build-up that is not removed between the teeth can start to create cavities very quickly. If you have a cavity, you'll possibly notice some discomfort in your mouth, such as sensitive teeth, toothache, or pain when you eat. There might also be brown, black, or white spots on your teeth.

 

By flossing every day, you can reduce the creation of cavities, as you'll be removing this build-up from between the teeth. Particular foods can contribute more to cavity issues, including sugary treats, cereal, chips, and ice cream. So if you eat any of these things, it's important to floss, in some cases, more than once a day.

Freshens your breath

 

You might be surprised to find out that even if you brush your teeth regularly but don't floss, you could still end up with bad breath. This is mainly due to the bacteria build up between the teeth, which will start to smell bad. To break down any nasty odors, flossing every day will ensure you get a complete oral cleanse and clear any food debris between teeth. Don't forget to brush your tongue, too, as this can also hold onto bacteria.

Reduces chances of developing heart disease

 

Studies have suggested that there is a link between gum disease and heart disease. One study highlighted that individuals have a 20% higher chance of developing heart disease if they experience gum disease. There are a few theories on why it may impact whether someone gets this severe illness. However, to reduce the risks, flossing is essential to ensure gum disease is avoided.

It gives you a healthy smile

 

Tooth brushing is just one aspect of getting a bright white smile. Poor oral health and the appearance of teeth can impact confidence levels, which can also lead to reduced mental well-being. By brushing every day and including flossing into the routine, you will ensure your teeth and gums are in optimum health.

How to floss correctly

 

Many people make the mistake of just running floss between the teeth a couple of times. However, there is a technique to it to ensure you get the optimum cleaning results. To get the right position for maximum benefits, you need to hold the floss in a c-shape around the tooth, as this covers the most area. When you have inserted the floss between your teeth, move it up and down the surface of the tooth and to the gum line. Avoid a pulling action at the gum line, as this can cause irritation. If you need assistance on the best flossing techniques, your Asheville dentist is available to help.

Types of floss and flossing tools

 

There are several types of floss and flossing tools available to make the process simple. The most commonly used floss is classic string examples. There are different varieties, including mint floss and waxed floss. Still, the effectiveness of using this floss is down to the technique you use rather than the product itself. There is also a selection of electric flossers and more advanced tools such as an oral irrigator and air floss products. 

 

Small flossing brushes are also useful tools to get in between the teeth. These examples can be particularly helpful if you have larger gaps that require a thorough clean, but your regular toothbrush doesn't quite reach.

 

In many cases, dentists will recommend traditional floss as one of the best ways to floss every day, as it is simple to use and inexpensive. It is also recommended that you use an American Dental Association (ADA) approved product to ensure its quality and standards for oral use. 

Main takeaways

 

Flossing should be a part of your everyday dental hygiene routine to ensure good oral health. One of the main reasons individuals question its benefits is typically due to the correct technique not being followed and time constraints. However, this simple yet effective cleaning method can provide a protective barrier to more severe tooth and gum problems in the long term.

 

So the next time you grab your toothbrush, don't forget to floss your teeth at least once a day too.