a woman flossing her teeth

While most people know that flossing daily is an essential part of an effective oral health routine, not everyone may know why flossing is so important. Flossing every day reduces the risk of developing cavities, as well as prevents the onset of gum disease. Recent studies have shown that as many as half of adults over 30 have some degree of periodontal disease. Additionally, research shows that 1 in 4 adults aged 20 to 64 has at least one cavity at any given time. Both periodontal disease and untreated cavities can lead to more severe issues and expensive dental visits. The best way to address these concerns is through dedication to a strong oral health routine, which in turn works to prevent or reduce the instances of these issues. Flossing daily is a low-cost, easy and quick way to be proactive and protect your oral health.  

Why Isn’t Brushing Your Teeth Enough? 

Each tooth has a total of 5 surfaces, and the average toothbrush (even with diligent use and proper technique) can only reach 3 of those surfaces. The two surfaces that a toothbrush cannot reach are often in close proximity to other teeth, which makes it easy for food and bacteria to get stuck in between. When food is stuck or left in these crevices, it produces an ideal breeding ground for the build-up of bacteria, which in turn creates plaque. This is where floss becomes an essential tool in your oral health toolkit. Floss works as an interdental cleaning tool, meaning it can fit into these tight problematic spaces and is effective at removing 80% of the plaque that may develop there.  

What are the Benefits of Flossing? 

There are so many benefits of flossing daily. Some of the most significant are: 

  • Helping to remove particles of food and any plaque that lives between the teeth and along the gum line, or anywhere your toothbrush isn’t able to reach and clean effectively. 
  • Increased prevention of bad breath and improved removal of bad breath causing bacteria than brushing only. 
  • Better removal of plaque from beneath the gum line. The plaque below the gumline erodes the enamel of the teeth over time and can develop into tartar.   
  • Reduces the risk of developing cavities. 
  • Reduces the instances of tender or sore gums, and/or puffy or red gum tissue. 
  • It helps to prevent gingivitis, which can progress into periodontitis if left untreated. 

What Kind of Floss Should I Use? 

There are many different kinds of floss available. Your dentist can help you figure out which type of floss is best for you. Some of the most popular types of floss are: 

Thread Floss: This is the most common type of floss and is available in both waxed and unwaxed varieties. 

Super Floss: Super floss is a type of floss that combines three components, a stiffened-end dental floss threader, spongy floss, and regular floss, which all work together to make flossing with braces, bridges, or wide gaps easier and more effective.  

Floss Picks: Floss picks are made up of a plastic handle with the floss stretched between two prongs. Floss picks are incredibly convenient when traveling or needing to floss on the go.   

Air Flossers: This type of flosser uses a fine point of air pressure that pushes out any food particles or debris that may be stuck between the teeth.   

Water Flosser: These types of flossers are also referred to as water picks. They use water pressure to clean between the teeth and push out any debris or food particles that remain after brushing.  

How Do You Floss Properly? 

Flossing properly is vitally important in order to reap the benefits of this daily practice. The most effective way to floss (if using thread floss) is to hold the floss closely against the surface of the tooth. Then, rub the side of the tooth gently with the floss, moving the floss away from the gum line with gentle up and down movements. Repeat this on each tooth, and between the teeth until all the teeth have been flossed. It is also important to ensure you don’t forget the backs of the teeth. You can also ask your dentist at your next visit to demonstrate the best flossing technique to ensure you’re doing it properly and effectively every time.  

At Stonegate Dental, we are more than happy to spend time supporting and educating our clients on the best way to care for their oral health. Let us help you achieve your healthiest and brightest smile by contacting our Guelph dentist’s office today!  

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