The Importance of Flossing
By John Rink DDS on July 11, 2016
The American Dental Association recommends that patients floss their teeth once a day. Yet the vast majority of people skip daily flossing and some do not floss at all. At Charleston Center for Cosmetic and Restorative Dentistry, Dr. John F. Rink encourages patients to start flossing every day, if they don’t already. In this blog post, we explain why flossing is so important to your dental health, and discuss proper flossing techniques. During your next general dentistry exam, we can go over the importance of flossing with you in person, as well. Contact our Charleston, SC practice today to schedule an appointment with us.
Why Should You Floss Every Day?
Flossing removes plaque that has built up along the gum line and between the teeth, areas that are more difficult to clean with a toothbrush. Plaque is made up of food particles and dental bacteria, which form a sticky film on the teeth. When plaque is first formed, it is a soft substance that is easily removed with brushing and flossing. However, when plaque is allowed to remain on the teeth for more than 24 hours, it hardens into tartar. It typically requires special dental tools, such as those used during a professional cleaning, to remove tartar.
Plaque and tartar contain millions of bacteria, which release acids as they feed on the sugars and starches in your mouth. These acids slowly erode the hard and soft tissues of the mouth, causing serious dental problems such as tooth decay and gum disease.
Patients that do not floss daily typically have a build up of plaque and tartar along the gum line, between the teeth, and on the back teeth. As a result, these patients are at an increased risk of developing gum disease and cavities.
- Gum disease: Gum disease is an infection of the gums that can result in red, swollen, tender, and receding gums. As the condition progresses, pockets grow between the teeth and gums, loosening the gums hold on the teeth. Left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss.
- Cavities: Cavities are the result of tooth decay, which creates small holes in the teeth as healthy tooth structure is damaged.
In addition to increasing the risk of cavities and gum disease, failing to floss on a daily basis can result in chronic bad breath.
Proper Flossing Techniques
When you do floss, it is important to do it properly. Here are some tips to help you thoroughly remove plaque and tartar when flossing:
- Use a fresh piece of floss every day.
- Bring the floss up and around each tooth, making sure to sweep across the area where the gum line meets the teeth.
- Stay focused on the same area until the floss comes out clean, to ensure that all plaque has been removed.
- Use a new section of floss between each tooth.
- Rinse the mouth with water after flossing to remove any additional debris.
To learn more about the importance of flossing, contact Charleston Center for Cosmetic and Restorative Dentistry today.