Alongside brushing, flossing is now a recommended part of your daily dental hygiene regimen. While that has been the case for quite some time now, the number of people who actually floss regularly is still fairly low – and it is estimated only 25% of people who brush also floss their teeth.
Part of that is because of the prevailing opinion that flossing isn’t ‘as important’ as brushing. For so long brushing was deemed the ‘necessary’ part of oral hygiene and flossing was an ‘extra’ that many people still feel that is the case. In reality however nothing could be further from the truth, and flossing is actually just as important to your dental health as brushing.
Cleaning the Gaps Between Teeth
Essentially the purpose of flossing is really fairly straightforward: It is used to clean out the gaps between your teeth. By inserting dental floss into these gaps and moving it back and forth, you will be able to dislodge any food that is stuck there while also shaving off any plaque that may have formed.
Without flossing, the gaps between your teeth are going to become a ‘safe haven’ for leftover food and plaque. Even assuming you’re brushing the surfaces of your teeth thoroughly, plaque will still build up between your teeth and the bacteria that thrives there could eventually lead to tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease.
The risk of all that is amplified if you’re wearing braces. It is extremely easy for food to become lodged in braces, and flossing is the best way to prevent that. At the same time it is important to note that when cleaning braces by flossing care must be taken not to damage the braces and waxed floss should be used.
Improving the Results of Flossing
For flossing to be effective, it needs to be carried out with the proper approach and technique. Generally flossing several times a day for short duration’s isn’t going to cut it because it won’t remove all the food that is stuck between your teeth. Instead, it is best to floss twice a day before you brush your teeth – but spend more time doing so and make sure you’re thorough.
Assuming you’re uncertain of the technique that you’re using to floss your teeth, you can always visit a dentist to get some advice on how to proceed. Also most dentists carry samples of floss so you can get a recommendation, try them out, and figure out which type you’d like to use (i.e. waxed or unwaxed).
In the long term, flossing is really just as important to your teeth as brushing – so get into the habit of doing so. While you might not be able to notice the difference immediately, it will help stave off most of the common dental issues that you may potentially face. Ideally it should become part of your regular teeth-cleaning routine, so that your risk of developing oral conditions is drastically reduced.