Flossing: a lot of us take it for granted. It’s a hassle, it’s gross, and it takes extra time out of lying in bed! Despite the inconvenience it’s incredibly important. Without regular flossing you can end up with serious oral health conditions that could easily be avoided.
At Overmeyer Family Dental we see plenty of patients, and the numbers match up to the national average: only about 50 percent floss regularly. It’s usually evident to us who is a flosser by how clean and healthy their teeth and gums are. You might not realize it, but it’s just as important for your oral health as brushing!
Flossing: Why Should You Do It?
There’s a 50/50 chance that you have a container of floss on a shelf in your bathroom that has been sitting, untouched, for a long time. The last time you grabbed it may have been when you had some popcorn or other food stuck in your teeth or found yourself out of kitchen twine.
Now think about your toothbrush: when is the last time you used that? The chances are probably a bit better – that sticky, nasty plaque on your teeth is gross! Brushing it away gives you a nice, clean feeling that sometimes you just need. What you may not realize is that the same gross plaque living on your teeth also lives between them, and your toothbrush can’t get that out. So why haven’t you flossed?
Plaque bacteria is responsible for most every bad thing that happens in your mouth, specifically tooth decay and gum disease. It’s always looking for places that your toothbrush can’t reach, like between your teeth. If you’re part of the half of people that don’t floss regularly then you’re exposing yourself to a whole host of oral health complications. Even worse, you won’t notice them because they’re happening where you can’t see at all!
Getting The Most Out Of Your Floss
We strongly encourage you to floss nightly. Your teeth will look and feel better and your chances of developing gum disease and cavities will be a lot lower. You might not know how to get the most out of your floss, however, which is something we’re going to share with you.
- Start with a piece of floss about 18 inches long.
- Wrap the floss around your middle fingers, placing most of it on one hand.
- Leave just a few inches between your hands so that you can keep the floss taut.
- Use a back and forth sawlike motion to work the floss between your teeth.
- Get below the gumline and up the sides of both teeth.
- Once you pull the floss free wind it from one hand to another to expose a clean piece.
- Repeat, getting every space in your mouth!
Doing this nightly will almost certainly improve your oral health. In cases of minor gum disease this can even stop and reverse the infection when paired with good brushing habits!
Choosing The Right Product For You
Just as technique makes a difference, so does the right flossing product.
- Nylon thread floss is the most basic kind and is great for most people. It comes in waxed and unwaxed varieties, with wax being added to make it easier to get between your teeth.
- Monofilament floss is made from a single strand of plastic or rubber. It is great for people who have smaller gaps between their teeth. If you’ve noticed nylon tears or snags a lot then you should give this variety a try!
- Super floss is a wide, yarn-like floss that’s perfect for people with orthodontics or gaps between their teeth.
You don’t need to stick with traditional spools of floss. You could choose one of these alternative methods to get your hands out of the dirty work.
- Floss holders are a small piece of floss strung on a handle. They’re great for travel and those who simply don’t want to be bothered sticking their hands in their mouths. You can get them in disposable or rethreadable models.
- Electric flossers use a pressurized jet of water to spray plaque out from between your teeth. A lot of our patients love theirs. While they can be an investment you simply can’t beat the clean feeling of water blasting away plaque.
Seeing The Dentist: It’s Still Important!
We want you to floss, but don’t think that adding it to your routine eliminates your need for regular care. Seeing us at Overmeyer Family Dental twice a year will go a long way to keep your mouth healthy. A cleaning and exam will allow us to identify and treat problems before they get bad – don’t miss them!