Flossing 101: Tips from the Pros
One of the most common questions patients get when they visit our office for a cleaning is, “Have you been flossing?” This is because it’s one of the most important steps in your daily dental routine and should not be skipped! We understand that this task can be uncomfortable and tedious, but you deserve the healthiest smile and that can only be accomplished with this necessary step.
What Does Flossing Do for Your Smile?
When you floss, you’re reaching all the spots that your toothbrush bristles simply can’t get to, like the spaces between your teeth. With the help of floss, you’re removing the build up of plaque and bacteria that’s harming both your teeth and gums. If these are left behind, you’re vulnerable to cavities, dental decay, and even gum disease. If there is decay between the teeth, multiple fillings may be necessary, or other cosmetic restorations to improve your smile, depending on how much damage is done.
The lingering bacteria from foods, drinks, and lack of proper care negatively affects your gums, as well. They’re start swelling and bleeding, making them prone to infection and further pain. Once gum disease occurs, the structure of your smile is at risk. Your teeth will become loose and start shifting and eventually, they’ll fall out. The foundation of your jawbone becomes compromised due to gum disease and it can no longer support the roots of your teeth.
When Should You Floss?
If you floss on a regular basis – at least once a day – your teeth and gums will stay healthy, you’ll prevent cavities, and prevent infections and gum disease from occurring.
Try flossing before you brush your teeth at the end of your day to loosen any lingering food particles. It doesn’t hurt to floss once more after you’ve brushed, just to ensure you’ve gotten everything.
If you have a hard time remembering to floss, try putting it in an area near your toothbrush so it’s visible and easy to spot, instead of in a cabinet or hidden somewhere else. The sooner you integrate this simple step in your daily dental routine, the healthier your smile will be.
How Should You Floss?
One of the most popular statements we hear about flossing is that it’s difficult. Patients find it tough to reach all the spots in between their teeth with the typical floss spools we associate with the task. With traditional floss, we recommend breaking off about 18 inches of string and wind up most of the floss while only leaving a few free inches of space. Using your thumb and pointer finger to hold the floss taut, glide the floss between your teeth and dislodge any visible or invisible bacteria. Be sure to be gentle as you floss since aggressive flossing will only cause sensitive and bleeding gums.
If you’re not a fan of the traditional floss, there are other options available to you, including threader floss and water flossers. Don’t hesitate to ask us about the best choice for you, as well as a demonstration on how to properly floss if you’re still not comfortable with the task yourself.
We want to encourage top oral hygiene in every way possible, so please ask any questions, comments, or concerns you have about taking care of your smile at home or on the go. Give our Tampa dentist a call at (813) 406-4947 and our staff will happily assist you. We can’t wait to work together with you towards a healthier, happier and stronger smile.