Flossing, as we all should know, is the interdental cleaning process using dental floss – a synthetic or silk thread – or a water flosser. The American Dental Association recommends brushing twice a day and flossing at least once. Many of us though, seem to skip the latter, making up a great number of excuses.
However, brushing alone is not enough. Although it is very effective in cleaning the inner and outer teeth surfaces, there are places a toothbrush can’t reach. These are the very narrow gaps between teeth, as well as the areas where the base of each tooth comes into contact with the gum line.
Yes, it’s true that adding mouthwash to one’s daily routine will certainly reduce the amount of harmful bacteria responsible for the formation of plaque. Nonetheless, the disinfectant properties of mouthwash simply won’t suffice. Removal of food residue from the aforementioned hard to reach places is not an easy job. Plaque will eventually form and gradually harden causing bad breath referred to as halitosis. If it is not dealt with while it is still pliable, it will accumulate over time to develop into tartar.
Tartar is the number one culprit for most tooth and gum diseases. It can be removed only by dental care professionals. Such procedures, besides being very costly, wear tooth enamel off and can be very invasive. Tartar can lead to gum disease starting off by swollen, inflamed gums, a condition called gingivitis. In severe cases such as periodontitis, plaque and tartar extend below the gum line causing an infection. If left untreated, the infection spreads to the jaw and can eventuate in tooth and even bone loss. Added to this, research suggests that poor oral hygiene is associated with a number of conditions, some of them life-threatening, such as heart disease, diabetes and illnesses of the respiratory system. (This is serious stuff, folks!)
Flossing combined with tooth brushing can prevent gum disease and halitosis. Research has shown that flossing in addition to brushing decreases the symptoms of gingivitis when compared to brushing alone. The American Dental Association, besides advising to floss thoroughly once or more every day, specifically directs proper flossing. Careless, vigorous flossing may have adverse effects such as gum tissue damage. Their advice is to ‘hug’ each tooth in turn, by placing the floss in a ‘C’ shape around it and very gently wipe it two to three times under the gum line. Although the Association does not recommend a specific order of flossing and brushing, it is commonly presumed that flossing before brushing allows toothpaste to be easily inserted between the teeth. Here’s an instructional video showing exactly how to floss:
In summation, flossing plays a very important role in maintaining dental health. The importance of dental health goes well beyond having a bright, healthy, confident smile and fresh breath. It is about the protection of one’s overall health and the reduction of dental health expenses. Research suggests that individuals that floss may spend up to 40% less on dental care than those who don’t. So, flossing equals preventive dental care. And everyone should take that little time and effort required to tend to their teeth.
Where Do I Find The Right Floss?
We recommend you look into water flossers (otherwise known as oral irrigators) to get the very best clean between your teeth and below your gum line. You can see our top picks on our home page, or you can go right to what we think is the best unit out there: the Waterpik Ultra.