Be honest. Flossing is something you don’t do as regularly as you should. Or maybe you forget because you believe brushing your teeth is enough to keep them clean. But dental floss should be a crucial part of oral hygiene – if it’s not yet. This article on the benefits of flossing may convince you to always have some handy.
Prevents Plaque and Tartar
Dental flossing helps remove food particles and other debris between teeth that toothbrushing can’t shake off. When left alone, these food remnants merge with the saliva and bacteria in your mouth to develop plaque. Plaque is a colourless or yellowish film that coats your teeth and gumline. It’s a precursor to many oral problems, such as bad breath, tartar, cavities, and gum disease.
Few things are worse than visiting your dentist and learning you have x cavities because you neglected to floss. Cavities do not happen overnight. The worse your plaque is, the higher the chance of developing tooth decay. What does flossing do? It prevents plaque build-up, thus also protecting your precious teeth from the doom of decay.
Saves You From Gum Disease
You might have gingivitis if your gums are sore, inflamed or bleeding. If managed incorrectly, it could lead to periodontitis or a serious infection of the gums. This condition causes your gums to recede and pull away from the teeth, resulting in pockets of bacteria along the gumline, pain while chewing, and severe bad breath.
Brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice daily can prevent gum disease. Studies show that even people who floss as little as once a week have a 17% lower risk of periodontitis than those who did it less often or not at all. Jump the gun and save your gums.
Food stuck between your teeth will slowly decay and emit a foul odour from harboured bacteria. Unfortunately, mints and breath sprays will only mask your bad breath. To nip your halitosis at the source, try flossing instead. Don’t forget to pack some floss with your mints on your next date.
Protects Heart Health
Research finds that individuals who followed a strict oral hygiene routine over 10.5 years had a decreased risk of heart problems, such as atrial fibrillation, irregular heartbeat, and heart failure. It supports the theory that bacteria from dental conditions such as plaque build-up or gum disease can sneak into the bloodstream and the heart. Although this hypothesis needs further research, why risk it? Just brush and floss regularly!
How to Floss Properly
Now that you know the benefits of flossing (no, not the dance trend), the next step is to do it correctly. Get 18 to 24 inches of dental floss and wind the ends around your fingers till you get a taut line. Glide the string gently between your teeth, making sure not to slice down your gums since it might result in tenderness or bleeding.
Is it good to floss your teeth every day? The American Dental Association actually recommends flossing twice a day. Doing it before brushing your teeth will loosen food debris and plaque, making your toothbrush session easier and more thorough.
However, if you want to floss like a boss, understand that not all dental floss is created equal. People with crowded or crooked teeth might find flossing challenging since overlaps are harder to get through. The floss might shred or break if forced down tight spaces. In this case, use waxed floss, which is more slippery and durable.
Your dentist might also recommend a water or an air flosser if you have tightly spaced teeth. These flossers have a small nozzle that uses a strong force of water to dislodge plaque and debris between the teeth.
Being able to floss with ease might be one more reason to fix your crooked teeth once and for all. ClearCorrect aligners are made from a triple-layer medical-grade plastic to give you comfort and convenience when correcting your misaligned bite. When your teeth are straight, you save yourself from many potential oral health issues.
Surprising Uses for Dental Floss
Did you know that dental floss solves more than teeth problems? The roll in your toiletry kit can come in handy in ways you would never expect. Forgot to bring a knife to your glamping trip? No problem. Hold your floss tightly to slice through hardboiled eggs, soft cheese, and even cake.
Speaking of camping, you might be interested to know that high-wax floss is flammable, making it useful for your next bonfire or grill. Use it to tie some twigs together or roll it up for tinder. The only thing missing are some brats to make the most of your floss-fuelled barbecue pit. Just remember to save some floss for some after-supper oral care.
Is flossing necessary? You already know the answer! Don’t be one of those people who overlook dental floss as an oral hygiene essential. Now that you know about its crucial benefits, what’s stopping you from adding it to your teeth-cleaning routine?
Cepeda, M., Weinstein, R. B., Blacketer, C., & Lynch, M. (2017). Association of flossing/inter-dental cleaning and periodontitis in adults. Journal of Clinical Periodontology, 44(9), 866–871.
Chang, Y., Woo, H. K., Park, J. B., Lee, J. H., & Song, T. J. (2020). Improved oral hygiene care is associated with decreased risk of occurrence for atrial fibrillation and heart failure: A nationwide population-based cohort study. European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, 27(17), 1835–1845.