Everything You Need To Know About Flossing

Everything You Need To Know About Flossing

Mar 23, 2023

While most people are careful about brushing twice daily, in the morning and before sleep, many are okay with skipping on flossing once in a while. While often underrated, flossing is a critical part of your oral hygiene.

One question about flossing is whether you should floss before or after brushing. While both brushing and flossing are great for keeping your teeth healthy and strong, the order in which they have performed also matters. Read on to learn more about flossing:

Why is flossing important?

Brushing twice daily for two minutes at a time helps remove food leftovers, bacteria, and other debris from your teeth, tongue, and mouth to prevent bacterial plaque and tartar. While your teeth might feel and look clean, they might not actually be clean.

Your toothbrush might not effectively reach deep between your teeth, where debris and bacteria are likely to hide. Not flossing encourages plaque and tartar in these areas, increasing your risk of oral infections.

Flossing daily, whether with interdental brushes, water floss, or floss picks, helps remove debris and plaque from deep between your teeth and around the gum line, reducing your risk of gum disease and tooth decay.

What are the benefits of flossing?

Food debris can easily get trapped and hidden between your teeth even after brushing, leading to a buildup of bacterial plaque and tartar. If left uncleaned long enough, the bacterial deposits release harmful acids that erode your teeth’s enamel, making your teeth more vulnerable to infections and fractures. Flossing daily helps minimize plaque and tartar buildup in the mouth, keeping your teeth healthy.

When should you floss?

Some people often floss after brushing. However, this isn’t effective since any debris or plaque removed by flossing is left in your mouth until you brush your teeth next. It encourages plaque and tartar buildup, increasing your risk of oral infections.

Flossing and brushing help remove all the debris released from the mouth, leaving your mouth cleaner and at a lesser risk of gum disease and other oral infections. You should also visit our dentist twice yearly for professional dental cleanings and oral hygiene tips.

How often should you floss?

While most people know they should brush at least twice daily, in the morning and before bed, they often need clarification about how often to floss. The ADA recommends flossing at least once daily to remove plaque and tartar in hard-to-reach areas. However, you can floss when brushing; it will only keep your mouth cleaner and healthier.

How should you floss?

Just flossing won’t keep your mouth plaque free, but flossing correctly will help. Use the following steps to floss:

  • Hold the floss between your index fingers and thumbs. Slide the strand between two teeth.
  • Move the floss up and down. Ensure you reach the gum line. Curve it and slip it under the gum gently next to one tooth.
  • Clean under the gums of the adjacent tooth and move the floss up and down tightly against each tooth.
  • Slide the floss out gently and unwind a fresh section to floss between all teeth. The process will get easier and quicker once you get used to it.

What are the various types of dental floss?

There are many types of dental floss, including:

  • PTFE or polytetrafluorethylene floss
  • Thread floss (made from nylon)
  • Super floss (excellent for flossing with braces and bridges)
  • Tape floss or dental tape
  • Waxed and unwaxed floss
  • Flavored and unflavored floss
  • Water floss

What are the effects of not flossing daily?

Flossing daily helps keep your teeth clean and disease free. Not flossing puts you at greater risk of bacterial plaque and tartar buildup, making your mouth vulnerable to oral issues like:

  • Sore, sensitive, and bleeding gums
  • Bad breath
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Enamel erosion
  • Receding gums
  • Oral thrush
  • Gingivitis and periodontitis
  • Tooth decay and cavities
  • Bone loss
  • Loose or falling teeth
  • Teeth stains and other cosmetic issues

Visit our best dentist in Brookline, MA, if you have any oral symptoms or problems. When not treated promptly, these oral problems can affect your overall health by causing inflammation and bacterial infections that can contribute to the following:

  • Weight gain
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Dementia and memory loss
  • Cardiovascular conditions like heart disease and stroke
  • Certain cancers
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Worsening health conditions

Schedule an appointment today

Contact Dental Partners of Brookline for more information about dental flossing and complete oral exams in Brookline, MA.

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