Floss your way to good health

Floss your way to good health
Flossing! The tiny roll of teeth saving and breath rescuing filament improves our oral hygiene and protects our teeth from decay. Your toothbrush sure does a great job cleaning three surfaces of the teeth out of the five. As a toothbrush can't reach the sides between your teeth, plaque and bacteria in these remaining surfaces do not get removed and cause cavities and gum diseases. So what about these other two uncleaned surfaces?

This is where floss comes into play. It is the only thing that can really get into that space between your teeth to remove plaque and bacteria. Flossing not only prevents cavities and tooth decay but is also instrumental in reducing inflammation in the mouth.

Benefits of regular flossing

Controls plaque Regular flossing helps to get rid of plaque, the sticky film that collects around the teeth. If not removed, bacteria from the plaque may release acids that will damage the tooth enamel.

Prevents cavities Food particles stuck between the teeth can cause cavities. Flossing helps to remove food particles from in between teeth, thus preventing cavities.

Reduces gum diseases Proper brushing along with flossing can help to prevent inflammation of gums.

Reduces bad breath Bad breath is caused due to food particles left in between the teeth. Flossing helps to remove the food debris thereby reducing bad breath.

Flossing Myth

There are a lot of myths about flossing that are unfounded, and one of them is that flossing causes gaps between your teeth. While you can experience gaps between your teeth when flossing, the gaps do not occur because flossing itself is harmful. Instead, it can occur due to flossing mistakes and improper flossing, such as cutting your gums.

So, if flossing is causing gaps between your teeth, you may need to learn the correct flossing technique to properly floss your teeth, in addition to brushing your teeth twice daily. Remember, flossing correctly can get you on the right path towards improved oral health, as flossing helps clean between the teeth and under the gum line and prevents plaque from building up, so it does not damage the teeth and gums.

How to Floss

Proper flossing reaches areas toothbrush can’t; like under the gum line and between the teeth. Here is how to do proper flossing.
  1. Take approximately 18 inches of floss, wrap it around your middle fingers leaving 2 inches between the fingers.
  2. Hold it firmly between your thumb and index fingers.
  3. Gently slide the floss in ‘C’ shape up, down and between your teeth, beneath the gum line. Move to a clean section of floss and repeat until each tooth is cleaned.
  4. Use the clean section to floss as you move from tooth to tooth. Make sure to clean beneath the gum line, but never snap the floss into the gums.
  5. Once done, discard the floss as used floss could leave bacteria in the mouth. Rinse with water or mouthwash.

Choosing the right floss

  • If your teeth is tightly spaced go for thinner floss options and waxed ones. This will help to glide more easily in between tight spaces.
  • If you have gaps in between your teeth go for thicker floss. Thicker floss such as weaved floss helps to target the sides of the teeth well.
  • Some people have difficulty is holding the flossing thread between their hands. They can choose dental floss picks.
  • If you are trying to cajole kids into flossing, go for flavoured varieties. That gets them excited, or slightly more willing to floss.
  • Consider the type of floss. There are two types available generally; nylon and monofilament. Monofilament is generally considered stronger and is therefore less likely to tear.
  • Have braces? Then a spongy floss is a good option as this can be used easily with dental appliances.

Symptoms to observe when flossing

No matter what type of floss you choose, if you observe any symptoms like red, painful or swollen gums, increased tooth sensitivity or bleeding gums (especially when you are brushing and flossing) check with your dental professional

Regular flossing helps to prevent plaque buildup, bad breath, gum diseases and promotes dental well being. While skipping to floss for a day won’t cause your teeth to fall out of your mouth immediately, it may stack up negatively against your oral health over time. So start flossing everyday for a healthy, beautiful smile and the confidence of clean fresh breath from practicing daily flossing.
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