Flossing. How it works and what it does for you
Do you believe you are good at flossing? Many people overlook this important oral care step, finding it a tedious and time consuming task. However, if you’re opting not to floss, you’re missing 35% of plaque on your teeth!
Contrary to popular believe, floss is not just intended for removing food stuck in your teeth. A toothbrush is designed to remove plaque on the surfaces of teeth, but unfortunately cannot clean the plaque between the teeth. This is where floss comes in. And given that toothbrushing is recommended twice daily, it’s no surprise dentists recommend flossing at least once a day.
But why is removing “plaque” so important? Plaque is essentially a build up of bacteria on your teeth. In the first few hours, it’s pretty harmless. However, after 48 hours, plaque turns to calculus, which cannot be removed by using a toothbrush or floss. If left, calculus eats away at your gums, bone, and tooth enamel. This causes a plethora of problems including decay (cavities), gum disease, loose teeth, and sometimes bad breath. It’s even been shown to increase the risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
Many stop flossing with the excuse that it cause their gums to bleed. This is actually a good sign. Most of the time, gums that bleed as a result of flossing is your body’s way of expelling bacteria that has built up under your gums over time. This means, you should keep it going! Healthy gums do not bleed when flossed.
So know you know the facts. How do we start a habit? A habit is anything done consecutively for 28 days. Flossing can seem like a daunting task at first, but when done regularly, there is certainly a notable difference! Here are a few tips to help get you started:
- Do it while doing something else. Try flossing while watching TV. You often forget you’re even doing it and those couple of minutes fly by! Just be sure you’re doing a thorough job.
- Watch YouTube videos. Everyone has their own technique that works for them. It’s hard to know yours if you’re knew to the whole thing. YouTube has many “how-to” flossing videos. Explore ways that are comfortable for you, while effectively cleaning the surfaces between your teeth.
- Don’t fall behind. It’s easy to forget for a night or two, especially when on holiday or staying away for the night. But be sure to get back into that routine!
So while brushing your teeth is extremely important, you’re not doing a good enough job unless you are also cleaning between the teeth. Once flossing has become a habit, you’ll normally be able to tell when you’ve forgotten to do it. It’s all about starting and continuing a healthy habit. Once you’ve got it down pat, you’ve got so much less to worry about when it comes to your oral health!