Most people know the importance of brushing at least twice a day but how about flossing? According to an article published in the Journal of Periodontology, just 32 percent of adults aged 30 years and older floss daily, while another 32 percent admitted that they don’t floss at all.
Flossing is often overlooked but it’s more important than you might think. When developing an oral hygiene regimen, it’s important to include flossing at least once per day to reduce the likelihood of developing tooth decay and gum disease.
Learn more about the benefits, the types available, and how to do it properly.
Benefits of Regular Dental Flossing
Many people underestimate the benefits of flossing. The biggest advantage of flossing your teeth daily is ridding your mouth of harmful plaque. Plaque is the colorless, sticky film that accumulates around and between the teeth and along the gumline.
If not removed, plaque can release acids that attack tooth enamel, eventually leading to tooth decay. Plaque buildup can also turn to tartar over time, increasing your risk of developing gum disease.
Regular flossing can reduce your risk of developing cavities and gum disease by removing stuck food particles and other debris in the mouth. Proper flossing habits can also reduce bad breath (halitosis), a common problem when food gets stuck between the teeth and starts to decay.
Another benefit that many people don’t know is that regular flossing may help your heart health. According to a study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, patients who adhered to a strict standard of oral hygiene had a reduced risk of heart failure and atrial fibrillation.
The type you use has a direct impact on the ease and effectiveness. The most common types of dental floss include:
- Thread Floss – Made from nylon, thread floss works similarly to other dental flosses. It is easy to use and glides between the teeth.
- Waxed & Unwaxed Floss – Unwaxed dental floss is made of approximately 35 strands of nylon twisted together. Waxed floss is also made from nylon but has a light wax coating.
- Flavored & Unflavored Floss – Wax can be found unflavored for those who don’t enjoy flavored flosses. Flavored flosses are available in a variety of flavors, such as mint, cinnamon, and bubble gum.
- Dental Tape or Tape Floss – Tape floss is often recommended for people with widely spaced teeth as it’s thicker and broader than conventional floss.
- PTFE Floss – Polytetrafluorethylene (PTFE) floss glides between teeth easily and is often recommended for people with crowded teeth.
- Super Floss – Super floss is constructed of a yarn-like material and is used with dental bridges or braces.
- Biodegradable or Natural Floss – These types of floss are generally made from silk and are covered in wax derived from vegan candelilla wax.
Flossing may seem simple but many people use the wrong techniques, resulting in a less-than-ideal clean. Follow these steps to properly floss your teeth:
1. Break off approximately 18 inches of floss. Wind most of the floss around one of your middle fingers. Wind the remaining section of floss around the middle of your opposite hand. The finger with the lesser length of floss will take up the floss as it becomes dirty.
2. Grasp the floss between your forefingers and thumbs.
3. Glide the floss between each tooth with a careful rubbing motion. Do not snap the floss into the gums to avoid injury.
4. Once the floss has reached the gum line, create a “C” shape against the tooth. Gently glide the floss between the tooth and gum.
5. While holding the floss against the tooth, carefully clean the side of the tooth with an up and down movement. Repeat on each space between your teeth. Do not forget to clean the back surface of your last tooth on each side.
Schedule Your Appointment
Flossing is an effective way to remove plaque, food particles, and other debris from between your teeth and should be incorporated into every person’s oral health routine. To learn more about why flossing is important or to schedule a dental teeth cleaning with our Melbourne FL dentist, contact Artistic Touch Dentistry.