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Posted on: May 6, 2021
Why Flossing Is a Must, Not a Maybe
If you think that it’s not a big deal to skip out on flossing your teeth every day, continue reading. While you may be convinced that brushing your teeth twice a day is enough to keep your teeth and gums happy and healthy, it’s only the first step in establishing excellent oral health. It may be tempting to brush off the importance of flossing, but it’s important that you understand that a mere strand of dental floss is the one thing that is strong enough to get rid of plaque in between the teeth and gums. Failing to get rid of plaque will lead to tooth decay, periodontal (gum) disease and serious consequences to your dental health.
Did you know that the sugars present in foods and beverages stick to your teeth and gums? If you don’t remove those each and every day, they will turn into acids that destroy the tooth’s enamel. The acids quickly harden into a layer of plaque that will cause tooth decay, inflamed gums and periodontal (gum) disease. Flossing once a day will help to prevent these issues from occurring.
While flossing has been proven to do great things for the health of your teeth and gums, it may also be excellent for your overall physical health. Scientific evidence suggests that there is a connection between periodontal diseases and systemic diseases such as diabetes, pneumonia, heart disease and even obesity. While researchers are still studying this link, many dentists believe that the connection is in inflammation triggered by bacteria within the mouth. Daily flossing rids the mouth of bacteria and lessens your risk for developing serious health conditions.
Flossing is an incredibly important habit for people of every age, but there are certain people who are more likely to develop tooth decay and gum disease. People who have lower levels of saliva due to chronic health conditions or certain prescription medications are at a higher risk of having dental health issues. This is because saliva cleanses the mouth of harmful bacteria. Lower levels of saliva mean that there are higher levels of bacteria present within the mouth. This makes flossing an imperative part of dental health care.
In order to achieve all of the benefits provided by flossing, you need to be sure that you’re doing it the right way. To do this, you will need to take a long string of dental floss, place it at the base of your tooth and gently pull the floss through each of the tooth’s sides. This allows you to get rid of food particles and plaque that collect in the crevices between your teeth. This careful motion should be repeated on every tooth with a clean portion of floss.
Why Children Need to Floss
Kids are in need of daily flossing too. Teaching kids how to floss keeps plaque at bay, improves the breath, cleans the teeth and prevents major oral health issues from setting in. This means that you need to teach your children to floss once a day. You can begin instilling this habit in your kids as soon as they have grown two teeth side by side. While it can be a challenge to teach dental health care habits to children, it’s well worth it in the long run.
How to Get Your Child Flossing
- Make a Flossing Success Chart – Make a chart to track daily flossing and place it on the wall of your bathroom. Whenever your child flosses, place a fun and colorful sticker on the chart. After your child has accumulated a predetermined number of stickers, offer him or her a reward. This reward can be anything that your child finds fun and appealing.
- Flossing Games – Make flossing a fun experience for children by turning it into an exciting story or a dance party. Use upbeat music and have your kids floss and dance to the rhythm of the song. Or make up an exciting adventure story about floss fighters defeating bad bacteria. Tapping into your fun and creative side can make flossing tons of fun for your kids. There are also a variety of applications available to help make oral health more exciting.
- Get Bright, Child-specific Tools – There are kid-friendly alternatives to plain packs of dental floss. Floss sticks are available in fun colors that are appealing to children. These sticks are easily held by kids, but you usually need more than one in order to floss all of their teeth.
- Offer Reinforcement – Positive reinforcement is a great way to encourage your children to floss. It provides a lot of motivation to continue flossing. It also makes children feel great about themselves.
- Be a First-hand Example – If their parents floss on a daily basis, kids will usually pick up on that habit. When your kids see you flossing, they will see that it is an important habit and be encouraged to floss their teeth.
Flossing Your Teeth the Right Way
If you want to know the best way to floss your teeth, these four simple steps from the American Dental Hygienists Association can help:
- Wind – Use about 18 inches of floss between your index fingers and your thumbs and pull the strand tightly.
- Guide – Use your index fingers to lead the strand of floss between each tooth.
- Glide – Use a gentle gliding motion to move the strand of floss between your teeth.
- Slide – Use a fresh portion of floss for each individual tooth and move the strand up and down along the surface of a tooth and beneath the gum line.
Hand-held and electric flossers are good tools to use if you don’t want to have to hold the strand of floss yourself. Instead of holding the string between your fingers, you will hold the handle of the flosser.
People with braces and other dental restoration devices need to be careful to not get the floss tangled in with their equipment. Special orthodontic floss or floss threaders can help you floss in smaller, more difficult-to-reach areas. Always be gentle while flossing. This will help prevent damage to the teeth and gums and your dental device.
Once you’ve established a daily habit of flossing, your teeth and gums will be much happier and healthier. If you’d like to learn more tips about how to properly floss, ask one of our knowledgeable team members at Family Dental Group.