What You Need To Know About Flossing

Posted on: 25 February 2017

At the end of a long day, it might sometimes feel like a struggle to even brush your teeth, so flossing seems like it's out of the question. Don't have this type of mindset. Flossing isn't just a helpful suggestion. It is a way to protect your oral health today and into the future. Make sure you aren't minimizing this important step.

Why It's Important

In a nutshell, flossing is an important part of keeping tooth decay and gum disease at bay. Both concerns arise when there is a significant buildup of plaque around your teeth and gum line. Plaque is a substance that forms when the saliva in your mouth mixes with any leftover food particles, resulting in sugar that feeds bacteria. The bacteria settle on the teeth, giving the "fuzzy" feeling. 

When you think about just how much food you eat throughout the day, it's safe to assume that you probably have quite a few food particles leftover between your teeth at the end of the day. This basically means you have plenty of food particles leftover to produce a fair amount of plaque to attack your teeth.  

Doing It The Right Way

Understand that there is both a wrong and a right way to floss. The first rule is to floss every day, as flossing only a few times a week won't fully prevent you from oral health concerns. Next, you don't want to floss too roughly. Some people will move the floss string around roughly in an effort to remove more particles, but they are only hurting their gums in the process.

Unless you have gum disease, it is not normal to cause bleeding when flossing. Take your time and do so gently. There is also no rule that you must wait until the end of the day to floss. You can floss anytime of the day.

Flossing Alternative

If you don't have the patience to sit there with a string and go back and forth between your teeth, you can use a water flosser as an alternative. Water flossers use the power of water to clean any lodged food from between your teeth. In addition to being easier to perform, some professionals even believe these machines do a better job, but you should talk to your dentist before switching to water flossing.

If you have any flossing concerns, your dentist, like David Jackson, DDS, can help. In addition to helping you understand why this practice is so important, a dentist can also help provide you with helpful techniques for flossing and help you ensure you are doing so correctly.