Should You Be Flossing Your Teeth?
Yes, flossing really is necessary! You should be flossing your teeth every day. Of course, you probably expect us to say that, since we’re dentists. At Mettler and Griego Family Dentistry of Peoria, we know that flossing is just as important as brushing when it comes to removing plaque and preventing gum disease. If you’ve been wondering whether flossing is necessary, here are some of the reasons why it is:
1. Flossing Fights Plaque
Flossing is necessary because it cleans the spots that your toothbrush can’t reach. Plaque-causing bacteria love to hide out between your teeth and underneath your gums. When plaque builds up, it causes cavities and infections. Flossing cleans the spaces between your teeth and below the gumline to remove plaque before it can cause trouble. If you want to spend less time in the dental chair, make flossing a part of your daily routine.
2. Flossing Prevents Gingivitis
Over half of Americans suffer from some form of gum disease, mostly due to poor oral hygiene habits. Plaque builds up if you don’t brush and floss every day. Failure to remove plaque causes infections and gum diseases like gingivitis. Weakened, infected gums pull away from the teeth, exposing sensitive areas of the tooth that are not protected with enamel. Gingivitis then progresses into periodontitis, or bone loss, which eventually leads to tooth loss. Daily flossing to remove plaque from the gum line is crucial to preventing gingivitis.
3. Flossing Builds Strong Gums
Daily flossing strengthens your gums and prevents infections. Strong gums secure your teeth to your bones. They also protect your bones from the bacteria that cause periodontitis. Your gums might bleed at first if you haven’t been flossing regularly, but the bleeding should subside once your gums are healthy again. If your gums continue to bleed after flossing regularly for a week, this could be a sign of gum disease. Call Mettler and Griego Family Dentistry to schedule a complete periodontal exam to find out the health of your gums.
What is the best way to floss?
Flossing only works if you do it correctly. First, use enough floss—about 18 inches should be sufficient. Next, wrap the ends of the floss around your fingertips for grip. Slide the floss between your teeth, then curve it around one tooth and slide it up and down. Next, curve the floss in the other direction and slide up and down again. Make sure to floss all the way underneath the gum line. You’ll probably notice plaque and food debris coming loose. Repeat until you’ve flossed between all of your teeth. Rinse your mouth with mouthwash, then brush your teeth.
When is the best time to floss?
Flossing before bed removes the food particles that feed bacteria while you sleep. Don’t give bacteria a chance to multiply—go to sleep with a clean mouth! If you floss before you brush and then rinse with mouthwash, your brushing will be more effective. As long as you are flossing once a day, it doesn’t really matter whether you floss in the morning or at night or after a meal. The important thing is to make flossing a part of your daily routine.
What products should I use?
At Mettler and Griego Family Dentistry, we highly recommend using a Waterpik or some type of water flosser. Waterpiks are very effective at flushing out bacteria and toxins from below the gumline. Water is always good for your teeth—it keeps your mouth hydrated, washes away debris, and restores essential minerals. Regular dental floss works great too—it’s far better than no floss at all! There are a wide variety of floss picks and tiny, interdental brushes to choose from. Look for the ADA seal of approval when purchasing floss or brushes. Products with the ADA seal have been scientifically proven to be safe and effective.
Now that you know why flossing is necessary, we hope that you will start flossing regularly! If you have questions about the benefits of flossing, call Mettler and Griego Family Dentistry to schedule an appointment. Our friendly dentists will answer all of your questions and advise you on the best daily oral care practices for your teeth. We offer gentle cleanings and diode laser treatments for infected gums that are non-invasive and completely painless. Call us at 623-471-1714 today – we look forward to giving you a reason to smile!