As dental professionals we often feel like a broken record (or a scratched CD, depending on your generation) telling patients that they need to floss more. We don’t mean to nag, we just want you to have the healthiest, happiest smile possible!
While brushing cleans the front, back and chewing surfaces of your teeth, flossing is the only way to properly clean the spaces between your teeth (what dental pros call the inter-proximal region). Even if you’re a tooth brushing superstar, you’re not cleaning your entire tooth if you don’t floss.
Here are just a few of the problems you will avoid by flossing daily:
The same micro-organism-filled plaque that accumulates on the front and back of your teeth can accumulate between them. This bacteria-ridden buildup can cause cavities and tooth decay if it isn’t cleaned away by flossing.
The bacteria in plaque left between your teeth can also eventually lead to bad breath. So if you brush and use mouthwash and still find yourself with bad breath, not flossing may be the culprit.
Plaque that is left on your teeth can eventually harden into a substance called tartar, which can lead to gum disease. You can prevent the development of tartar by flossing, but once tartar has formed, only scaling and cleaning at the dentist can remove it.
Poor dental hygiene has been linked to both heart disease and aggravation of symptoms for those with diabetes. Remember that your mouth is an entry point for your entire body, so keeping your teeth healthy by brushing and flossing can prevent disease-causing pathogens from getting in.
If you feel you need a reminder of the best way to floss, your dentist or dental hygienist will always be happy to give you a demonstration at your next visit. You may also be more likely to floss if you find the right type of floss for your mouth. Try different types, such as unwaxed, waxed or tape floss, or floss on a pick tool, until you find what feels the most comfortable for you.
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