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No need to floss? Think again!
August 1, 2016
You’ve seen the headlines:
Flossing may be a waste of time.
Feeling guilty about not flossing? Maybe there’s no need.
Medical benefits of dental floss unproven.
The Associated Press reported in August that there is no solid evidence that flossing actually helps your teeth. After researching studies on flossing, focusing on reports comparing the use of a toothbrush to the combination of toothbrushes and floss, they found the benefits of flossing lacking.
Don’t throw away your waxy threads quite yet, though. This apparent lack of evidence for flossing is nothing new. Everyday at First Choice Dental, however, we see first-hand that people who floss have fewer cavities, less gum disease, and better overall health in general. We’ve been around for more than 12 years, so that’s a lot of days!
You wouldn’t wash only one side of a dirty dish, and then put it back in the cupboard to use again tomorrow, would you? Brushing your teeth cleans the front and back surfaces of your teeth, but flossing cleans the nooks and crannies—the sides of your teeth and gum lines. Regular flossing, with brushing, keeps harmful bacteria and plaque away. Faithful flossers also typically have shorter and easier dental hygiene appointments. And at First Choice Dental, we’re passionate about providing you with comfortable oral health care.
Now that you’re resolved to keep flossing, here are some tips for flossing effectively:
- Use 18 inches of floss. Wind floss around your middle finger, with the rest around your other middle finger. Grasp the string tightly between your thumbs and forefingers.
- Move floss up and down along the sides of your teeth. Don’t snap it down on the gums. When the floss reaches the gum line, form a C to follow the shape of the tooth.
- Floss behind your back teeth, too. This is by far the place where most gum disease and decay manifests.
What else should you know?
- If you don’t floss, your gums begin to breed bacteria. Not flossing leaves you vulnerable to gum infection (gingivitis), gum disease (periodontitis), and tooth loss.
- Healthy gums don't bleed. If you see signs of gum disease, including soreness, puffiness, bleeding, and redness, see your dentist right away.
- Your kids need to floss too. Parents should help younger children to floss their teeth each day. Cavities between baby molars of school age children are very common.
- Even the most fancy toothbrush bristles can’t reach everywhere. Floss is designed to slide easily and comfortably into the tightest spaces.
- Tools can help you. Consider plastic, Y-shaped disposable flossers, small, round brushes or pointed rubber tips, and wooden or plastic pics to make flossing your teeth easier.
Just as regular flossing is important for your oral health so is regular dental care. Schedule your next dental appointment or find a location near you. Our patients love the fact that we offer general dentistry as well as a host of specialty services. It's all right here!