Why should you floss your teeth?

Why should you floss your teeth?

Flossing is great for your teeth and gums, but a lot of us avoid it or don’t do it regularly enough.

People brush their teeth twice a day to clean the visible surfaces, but what about the areas between the teeth that you cannot reach with a toothbrush?

Flossing, also known as interdental cleaning, is an essential part of oral care as it removes food debris and plaque build up between the teeth.

Cleaning between the teeth should be carried out by dental floss, an interdental brush or water flosser.

Flossing prevents the following issues:

By not flossing you are increasing the risks of:

  • Cavities: permanently damaged and decayed areas of the teeth, which will require dental attention.
  • Bad breath: the bacteria from plaque trapped between the teeth causes unpleasant odours.
  • Tartar buildup: is calcified, hardened plaque around the gum line, which will require dental scaling by your dentist to remove it, as at home brushing cannot remove tartar.
  • Gingivitis: is the inflammation of the gum, causing redness, swelling and pain. This can be solved and reversed by a professional clean with your dentist, as well as by daily brushing and flossing at home.
  • Loss of teeth: due to dental decay or periodontal disease.
  • Periodontal disease: Gum disease which happens when gingivitis is left untreated. Periodontitis is the irreversible condition where there is bone loss around the roots of the teeth caused by bacteria in the plaque. The long term consequence of periodontal disease is gradual tooth loss.

Periodontal treatment involves:

  1. A combination of oral hygiene instruction and maintenance of excellent daily oral hygiene
  2. Scale and polish of the teeth which includes deep cleaning (root planing)
  3. In severe cases, surgery may be required
  4. Regular monitoring by a dental professional

How often should you floss your teeth?

We recommend you floss once per day, preferably at night before bedtime to remove debris and buildup between the teeth.

It is also advisable to floss after eating; be gentle to avoid damage to your gums.

Flossing only takes a short time, so it’s worth the effort to prevent the negative, long term consequences as listed above from occurring.

Options for cleaning between the teeth:

Everyone has different preferences for cleaning between their teeth.

Options include:

Dental floss:

Traditional floss used to be made from silk fibers, however it is now crafted from nylon or Teflon. It is up to you to find floss that you prefer as it comes in string form or as a floss pick.

Another great option is flavoured mint floss, which also promotes a fresh breath.

Interdental brush:

A small brush used to clean debris from between the teeth.

Water flossing:

A handheld device used to remove food debris and plaque from between the teeth. You fill the device with water, and it emits streams of water to remove plaque and food debris.

Water flossers are recommended for people who struggle with traditional floss, have arthritis or have dexterity problems.

Our team at Hyde Park Dental Care are passionate about providing patients with their freshest, healthiest mouth and excellent dental treatments. To find out more about dental health or to book an appointment with our friendly dentist, please click here.

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