What is flossing?
Regular flossing is an essential part of maintaining excellent oral health that is sometimes overlooked. It is easy to believe that just brushing your teeth is enough to keep your gums and teeth healthy, but flossing is just as important. Flossing is an easy and effective way to prevent gum disease, tooth decay, and other oral health issues.
Flossing involves using a thin and flexible piece of material such as nylon, plastic, or silk, to clean the spaces in between your teeth and gums. Floss can also come waxed or unwaxed, or even be flavoured. To prevent plaque build-up and gum disease, you need to floss at least once a day, according to the American Dental Association.
What are the benefits of flossing?
1. Flossing prevents tooth decay:
Tooth decay happens when bacteria create a sticky layer called plaque over your teeth. This damages the surface of your teeth over time.  Flossing helps remedy this by removing the food particles and plaque that bacteria feed on, which reduces the amount of acid produced and thereby lowers risk of tooth decay. Flossing also reaches areas where a toothbrush cannot reach.
2. Prevents gum disease:
Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is a condition that affects the gums and can possibly lead to tooth loss if not treated. Flossing helps to remove bacteria and plaque that can irritate the gums, which is the primary cause of periodontal disease. Flossing also helps to strengthen the gums by increasing blood flow, which helps healthy tissue growth.
3. Improves Overall Health
Your oral health is more closely linked to the health of the rest of your body than you think. Poor oral health has been linked to health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Flossing helps prevent these issues in the mouth by reducing the amount of bacteria, which helps prevent it from spreading to the rest of your body.
4. Flossing Saves Money:
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Preventative care such as flossing is much cheaper than restorative dental care in the long run, as flossing and regular brushing will help you prevent issues such as fillings, root canals, and gum surgery in the future. By simply flossing everyday, you can prevent oral health issues from developing in the first place, which saves you money at the dentist.
Tips for Effective Flossing, According to the Canadian Dental Association :
- Take a length of floss equal to the distance from your hand to your shoulder.
- Wrap it around your index and middle fingers, leaving about two inches between your hands.
- Slide the floss between your teeth and wrap it into a “C” shape around the base of the tooth and gently under the gumline. Wipe the tooth from base to tip two or three times.
- Be sure to floss both sides of every tooth. Don’t forget the backs of your last molars. Go to a new section of the floss as it wears and picks up particles. After flossing, roll it up in a tiny ball and put it in the garbage. Never flush floss down the toilet.
Also make sure to brush your teeth after you floss, as it is a more effective method of preventing tooth decay and gum disease.
Be sure to talk to your dentist at your next Simpli Dental visit about how to properly floss to maintain excellent oral health and a beautiful smile!