While most people make a habit of brushing their teeth twice a day, flossing is a lot less common - despite your dentist recommending you floss at least once a day.
The reason dentists everywhere are quick to advise patients to get flossing is that this quick and simple activity can provide a wide range of benefits to your oral health - including protecting your gums and teeth, avoiding cavities, and even reducing your risk of developing other health conditions.
In this article, we’re taking a look at the importance of flossing and why you should be making it a daily part of your oral hygiene routine.
Why do I need to floss as well as brush my teeth?
While brushing your teeth can help to remove debris and plaque, brushing alone can’t reach all the areas of your teeth - in fact, nearly half the surface area of your teeth actually lies between them.
It’s easy for food to get trapped in the gaps between your teeth, which can create a breeding ground for bacteria and plaque to develop. Unlike brushing, flossing can allow you to get into these gaps and remove the bacteria-causing debris.
What are the benefits of flossing my teeth?
Flossing protects your gums
If plaque and bacteria build up between your teeth, they can start to irritate the gum tissue. When left untreated, this can eventually lead to a range of oral health conditions, including gingivitis - a periodontal disease that can cause the gums to become red and puffy, and bleed easily.
By making a habit of flossing once a day, you’ll prevent this plaque and bacteria from building up, reducing your risk of gum disease and infections.
Flossing keeps your teeth healthy
Aside from irritating your gums, bacteria that develops between your teeth can also weaken and destroy the tooth’s enamel - the protective layer that coats the surface of the tooth. This can lead to the development of a cavity.
By removing plaque, flossing prevents the build-up of harmful bacteria that can have a damaging effect on tooth enamel. What’s more, regular flossing will also help to keep your teeth looking clean and bright by removing unsightly plaque and food particles.
Flossing can reduce the risk of other diseases
As your mouth is the gateway to the rest of your body, the presence of harmful bacteria here can pose a risk to your overall health. Although rare, the gum disease gingivitis can enter the bloodstream and travel to other parts of the body, increasing your risk of heart disease, diabetes and respiratory illness.
Flossing only takes a few minutes, but this simple action can help reduce the risk of infection and have a positive effect on your overall physical health.
How do I floss my teeth correctly?
Now you know the importance of flossing, you might be wondering about the right technique to ensure you’re getting the full benefit of daily flossing.
Here’s a quick step-by-step guide to correct flossing technique:
- Wind about 40cm of floss around each of your middle fingers, leaving a few centimetres in the middle to floss with.
- Holding the floss tautly between your thumbs and index fingers, slide it gently up and down between your teeth.
- Gently curve the floss around the base of each tooth, ensuring you go beneath the gumline.
- Never snap or force the floss, as this can damage the delicate gum tissue.
If you have questions about flossing or need more advice on how to floss correctly, talk to your National Dental Care Group dentist - you can Book an Appointment online today,