Whilst most people know they should brush their teeth twice a day, many people don’t realise that flossing daily is the second-most important step to maintaining a healthy dental care routine and a preventative measure against gum disease and tooth decay.
Whilst brushing your teeth removes much of the food particles, plaque and bacteria inside your mouth, only flossing can reach all the baddies lurking in the tiny spaces between teeth that you can’t necessarily see in the mirror. By flossing regularly your teeth will look brighter, your mouth will feel cleaner and your breath will taste fresher. It is also a major factor in preventing gum disease.
How do I floss correctly?
Wind some floss around one finger and with the other hand gently guide the taut floss between your teeth. Slide the floss against the tooth on one side with an up and down motion, then up to the gum line where you can gently push the floss between your tooth and gum. Repeat this against the tooth on the other side, and between all teeth. If you haven’t flossed for a while, it’s common to see a little bit of blood on the floss and for your gums to feel a little tender. This means that your gums are slightly inflamed and needed flossing to remove hidden bacteria. Once you establish a regular flossing regime this should go away.
What will happen if I don’t floss?
If you do not remove the plaque between your teeth it will eventually harden into what’s called tartar. It is much more difficult to remove and can only be done by a dentist. Over time, bacteria will build up within the tartar and possibly lead to gum problems such as gingivitis and more advanced conditions such as periodontitus. This can lead to bone loss, loose teeth and teeth falling out or needing to be removed.
The information contained on this website and websites linked to this website (Information) does not constitute or comprise comprehensive medical or dental advice. You should seek dental advice directly from your dentist before acting or relying on the Information.
First published: 06 November 2014