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Why Flossing Is a Must, Not a Maybe

The Many Benefits of Daily Flossing

Do you consider flossing an important component of your oral care routine? Do you floss every day or only once in a while? If you neglect flossing as a part of your daily routine, it can have significant consequences on your oral health. Follow along to discover some of the most important reasons why flossing is a healthy habit you should complete every day.

Reduce Your Risk of Gum Disease and Gingivitis

The initial stage of gum disease is called gingivitis, and it develops because of the accumulation of plaque. Plaque is a sticky coating of bacteria that forms on your teeth daily. When not removed, plaque releases toxins that inflame and irritate your gums, leading to the symptoms of gingivitis. These include swollen, red gums that bleed when you brush or floss. Dental floss can remove plaque and bacteria from between your teeth and under the gum line, which can help prevent gingivitis and gum disease.

Prevent the Accumulation of Tartar

Tartar, or dental calculus, is the substance that forms on your teeth if plaque isn’t removed daily. It’s typically brown or yellow in color and often forms near the gum line. Tartar is problematic because it can contribute to poor oral health and increase your risk of serious problems, including gum disease. It can only be removed by your dentist or dental hygienist. A diligent flossing routine can remove plaque as it forms each day and prevents the development of tartar.

Prevent Tooth Decay and Cavities

The same bacteria found in plaque also leads to tooth decay and cavities. Plaque feeds on the sugars and starches in the food and drinks you consume each day.
When this occurs, the bacteria in plaque release an acidic mixture that weakens and destroys tooth enamel and creates tiny holes, known as cavities. To prevent cavities from forming, make regular flossing (and brushing) a part of your everyday routine.

Prevent Systemic Disease

Numerous scientific studies have shown that poor dental health can contribute to the development of systemic diseases, such as stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory problems. Researchers believe the link lies between the inflammation caused by bacteria buildup in the mouth. By simply flossing each day, you can remove this harmful bacteria and lower your risk of developing serious health problems.

Prevent Bad Breath

If you have pieces of food stuck between your teeth, they can produce bacteria that cause bad breath, also called halitosis. Flossing your teeth every day can remove food debris from between your teeth before it has a chance to cause your breath to smell unpleasant.

Dental Flossing for Kids

According to guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, parents can start introducing flossing to children when they have multiple teeth next to each other. Every child’s mouth is different, but in general, this occurs between the ages of two and six. At this age, children are too young to floss their teeth themselves, so you’ll have to floss your child’s teeth until they’re old enough to start flossing on their own.

The earlier children learn about flossing and proper flossing techniques, the better. Starting and practicing good oral health practices, including daily flossing, can set your child on a path of healthy teeth and gums that last a lifetime.

How to Make Flossing Fun!

Many children find flossing an intimidating task, especially when they’re first starting to learn the proper flossing techniques. To provide some extra motivation for kids so that they’ll find flossing an enjoyable experience, follow these fun flossing tips:

Think of creative ways to make flossing seem like a game instead of a daily chore. By making flossing into a fun activity, it will quickly become a habit your child wants to participate in every day. Sing or play a silly song while your child is flossing. Try to create a song that involves the steps to proper flossing to help your child remember.

Make flossing a family event that everyone does together. Flossing as a family can make the task more engaging, and it also provides you with the opportunity to showcase the proper way to floss your teeth.

Positive reinforcement is an excellent technique you can use to get your child into the flossing habit. Congratulate your child on a job well done every time they floss. Offer a reward or a special treat once they have flossed their teeth for a specific number of consecutive days. Besides gifts, create a chart that you add a sticker to each day your child flosses.

Provide your child with fun flossing tools. Let them pick out the type and flavor of floss they want to use. They can even use floss sticks, which come in many different bright colors and special characters. Due to their small size, floss sticks make it easy for kids to floss all of their small teeth.

Tips and Guidelines for Proper Flossing

Flossing doesn’t have to be a time-consuming process. When performed properly, it only takes a few minutes to effectively clean and floss your teeth. Use this technique to get the most from each flossing session:

  1. Take about 18-24 inches of dental floss and wind it around the middle fingers of each hand. Try to leave yourself several inches of floss to use.
  2. Create a taut strand by holding the floss between your index fingers and thumbs.
  3. Gently slide the floss up and down between your teeth.
  4. To remove bacteria and food particles along the gum line, curve the floss into a C-shape around the base of each tooth.
  5. To protect your delicate gums, avoid snapping or forcing the floss between the teeth.
  6. Ensure that you’re using an unused piece of floss for every tooth as you move from tooth to tooth.

Our dental team is here to assist you if you have any questions about flossing, including what type of floss to use. Get in touch with us today to schedule your appointment.

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