A key part of maintaining good dental hygiene is teeth flossing. However, as many as 36% of Americans don’t bother with flossing at all. While there have been claims made that flossing is not necessary, there is enough evidence to the contrary that flossing does, in fact, help with the prevention of oral diseases.
Why is Teeth Flossing Important?
Flossing is an important part of good dental hygiene. Here is why.
Plaque is a natural result of bacterial buildup in the mouth. Bacterial build up is also a natural result from the food we eat and our saliva, especially when we eat sugary or starchy foods such as soft drinks, cakes, milk and so on.
Plaque is a sticky and colorless film of sugars as well as bacteria that layer our teeth constantly. That is why your teeth feel fuzzy after eating, or if you haven’t brushed your teeth.
If not removed daily, plaque can harden into tartar and even cause gum disease and cavities.
The acid in the plaque constantly attacks our teeth, and if we don’t clean our teeth regularly, that acid breaks down the tooth enamel. Once the tooth enamel breaks down, the bacteria can infect our teeth, leading to the formation of cavities and other oral problems.
Plaque also develops on the roots of our teeth, just under the gum. If it is not cleaned properly, it can cause swelling and infection, which in turn can lead to the breakdown of the bone that supports our teeth.
The reason why flossing is important is because there are many times that toothbrushes are unable to pull out debris trapped between your teeth and under your gums effectively.
Flossing Correctly for Effectiveness
If you floss your teeth incorrectly, you can actually end up hurting your gums or teeth. There is a proper way to floss so that the cleaning of your teeth is truly effective.
- You first take about 18 inches of floss, the ends of which you need to wind around your fingers. You should have about 1 to 2 inches of floss between your fingers.
- Stretch out the floss between your fingers so that it is link and then slide it carefully and gently between your teeth. You need to use and up and down motion to insert the floss between your teeth.
- Curve the floss around the base of each tooth and go under the gum line. Do it carefully and gently so that you don’t hurt your gums. If you snap or drag the floss too hard, you can damage your gum tissue, which can lead to infections.
- Keep changing the floss sections for each tooth, so that each tooth is cleaned with a clean part of the floss.
Types of Floss to Use
You have a choice of two types of floss:
- Multifilament or Nylon Floss: You can get either waxed or unwaxed nylon floss in different flavors. This type of floss is made up of multiple strands of nylon, so if you keep using the same part of the floss, it will start to tear or unravel.
- Monofilament or PTFE Floss: This is the more expensive type of floss and it is almost completely tear resistant. This kind of floss also slides more easily between the teeth.
It doesn’t matter which one you choose. As long as you floss your teeth with gentleness and care, either one will do the job effectively. Ensure that you throw away the floss after you’re done. A piece of floss used to carry bacteria and using it again can also lead to bacteria being left in your mouth.