July 24, 2019
According to a recent survey completed by Delta Dental, only 4 out of 10 Americans floss once a day. At least 20% of the population doesn’t floss at all. Flossing may seem like a hassle at times but skipping this step in your oral routine can have serious consequences on your dental health. In this post, your dentist in Scarborough will explain what flossing does for you that brushing can’t.
How Do I Benefit from Flossing?
Flossing helps you remove bacteria-filled plaque from your teeth. Unlike brushing, flossing can reach in between your teeth and underneath your gums. These hard-to-reach areas are where the most destructive bacteria exist. When you neglect flossing, plaque can run rampant in your mouth. This puts you at risk of two major dental issues: gingivitis and cavities.
Plaque irritates your gum tissue, causing it to inflame and bleed easily, which breeds more bacteria and can result in gingivitis (the first stage of gum disease). When left untreated, gingivitis can bloom into periodontitis and cause serious infections, tooth loss and may even raise your risk of heart disease.
Plaque can also destroy the enamel on your teeth, leading to the formation cavities. Untreated cavities continue to grow larger and affect deeper layers of your teeth. This leads to toothaches and possibly infection and tooth loss.
How Do I Floss Correctly?
To get the most out of flossing, make sure your technique is right. Start with about 18 inches of floss and wind it around each middle finger. Leave an inch or two of floss to clean with and hold it tightly between your fingers. Gently slide the floss in between your teeth, moving it up and down. Curve the floss around the base of each tooth, making sure to go below the gumline. Alternate between clean sections of floss as you progress.
The type of floss you use is also important. You can choose between nylon floss or PTFE floss. Nylon floss can be waxed or unwaxed and comes in a variety of flavors. However, it might tear or shred in tight contact points, including in between your teeth. The more expensive single-filament PTFE floss slides in easier between your teeth and is shred-resistant. Both are effective and you should choose whichever you prefer.
Flossing may not be fun, but it’s a necessary step in maintaining your oral health. Ask your dentist if you want more tips on flossing.
About the Author
Dr. Samantha Amaro has almost a decade of experience practicing dentistry. She is a member of the Ontario Dental Association, Royal College of Dental Surgeons, and the Toronto Academy of Dentistry. If you have further questions about your oral hygiene routine, she can be reached through her website or at 416-285-4545.
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