Every time you visit the dentist, you are likely told how important it is to floss regularly. This helpful tip is a great reminder for your oral hygiene, but a lot of people fail to take care of this small part. Even though it does not take long, it can make a big difference.
What is the Purpose of Flossing?
Flossing is a way to clean between your teeth. As much as people wish it were true, brushing only cleans the surface of your teeth. Brushing cannot get into the crevices of your teeth and clean out the food particles that are stuck between them. Many types of bacteria build up in these spaces that cannot be removed without proper flossing. Even if you think that brushing gets these things out of your teeth, the fact remains that it cannot remove everything and you will still have food particles and bacteria between your teeth.
What Happens When You Do Not Floss?
When you do not floss, you start getting plaque buildup between your teeth. This plaque buildup can be removed mostly by your dentist, but if you only visit the dentist twice per year as recommended, you will have a lot of plaque buildup that is on your teeth for a good part of every year. This plaque buildup can lead to other problems with your teeth such as cavities, tooth decay, and even gum disease. Not only can these things be very costly to repair, but some of them may also be irreversible.
How Often Should You Floss?
It is recommended that you floss at least one time per day according to the American Dental Association. You should make it a part of your daily routine and get in the habit of doing it at the same time each day. Many experts say that flossing at night before bed is the best time so you can clean out all of the bacteria before bed. Additionally, it is important that you take your time flossing to ensure you are doing it correctly and efficiently cleaning between your teeth. If you complete it too fast or do it the wrong way, you are likely to miss some of the things you need to clean.
Brushing is More Effective When Paired with Flossing
You should not perform one or the other when taking care of your dental hygiene at night. Make sure you both brush and floss to get a proper clean. You can even follow it up with some mouthwash. However, mouthwash should never be used instead of brushing or flossing for your nightly routine. The American Dental Association recommends that you floss before brushing so you can get a better clean.
Flossing Can Provide Better Breath
If you are not convinced yet that flossing is vital for your oral care, one last benefit of flossing is that you can achieve better breath after brushing and flossing together than if you were just to brush. The reason for this is because sometimes bad breath can be caused by food or bacteria between your teeth. Even after brushing, if this is still in your mouth, you are still likely to have bad breath once the toothpaste smell goes away. It can even help with the oral discomfort that comes from food being in between teeth.
Flossing is a critical part of maintaining oral health, and it has benefits that are separate from brushing alone. Your dentist knows best on this one, and you should make it a part of your daily oral care routine.