Importance of Flossing Your Teeth

People who floss regularly have healthier gums. They have less gum bleeding, gum disease, bone loss, and inflammation. Adding dental floss into your daily oral hygiene routine will help remove plaque and eliminate bacteria that can lead to gingivitis, tooth decay, and bad breath.

The main thing to remember is that you should brush your teeth, floss, and use mouthwash every day! Any type of floss will improve your oral health and pick up bacteria that your toothpaste and toothbrush left behind.

We all know brushing is important to keep our teeth healthy, but we often forget about flossing until we go to the dentist and are reminded. We want to tackle some of the frequently asked questions we receive from our patients. 

Q. Why is flossing so important? 

The main reason is that brushing can get all of the big plaque and bacteria off of your tooth, but your toothbrush cannot always get all the way in between your teeth. This is why flossing is so important. Flossing will ensure that you do not have any cavity causing plaque or bacteria in between your teeth.

Q. When should you floss? 

You should be flossing 1 time per day and preferably at night time. This way you remove any food that is leftover from your meals that day before you go to bed. Flossing before bedtime gets rid of the bad bacteria and germs that would otherwise sit on your teeth all night. 

Q. Should I floss or brush first? 

Let’s take a look at why you may want to brush or floss first.

Brushing First:

The most common method people use is brushing first and then flossing. The perk of this method is that you get rid of all the bigger food particles and plaque around your teeth first and then can use the floss for a deeper cleaning in between your teeth and can pull the fluoride left over from your toothpaste in between the teeth. The downside to this method would be that you may be tempted to skip flossing.

Flossing First:

The perk of flossing first is that you break up all of the food particles from around your teeth and then can easily brush them off. The downside of this would be that you will not be using the floss to pull the fluoride from your toothpaste in between your teeth.

Either way, as long as you are flossing you will see an improvement is your overall dental and gum health.

Related Article: Oral Health Tips & Tricks: How to Care for Your Toothbrush

Q. How do I Floss Properly?

Follow these 7 steps and you’ll floss like a champ:

  1. Use 12 to 18 inches of your preferred dental floss and wind most of the floss around each middle finger, leaving an inch or two of floss to work with.
  2. Holding the floss tightly between your thumbs and index fingers, gently slide the floss in between your teeth.
  3. Hug the floss against one of the surfaces of one of your teeth creating a C-shape with the floss.
  4. Scrape up and down against the entire tooth surface and make sure to get under the gums as far as you can go.
  5. Repeat this step by hugging the floss against the surface of the other tooth that you are working between.
  6. To remove the floss, use the same motion and bring the floss up and away from the teeth.
  7. Move tooth-to-tooth repeating this process and use a clean section of floss for each area. Remember to floss the backsides of your molars and even floss the sides of teeth that don’t have neighboring teeth.

Q. Can flossing help boost your immune system?

If you’re looking to boost your immune system and fight back against viruses and illness, the best place to start may be your mouth! Flossing your teeth properly can help boost your immune system, and keep you healthy even during flu season and other times when common illnesses are widespread.

Tips to keep your immune system strong:

  • Minimize stress
  • Brush regularly
  • Floss regularly
  • See a dentist for regular checkups
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Wash your hands often
  • Get an adequate amount of sleep
  • Avoid smoking
  • Avoid high-sugar foods

Q. Can I prevent gum disease by flossing?

Maintaining your oral health is crucial. It limits the existence of plaque, bacteria, and various food debris that can collect along the gum line and on teeth. Adopting a dental routine that includes brushing your teeth twice daily, flossing, using mouthwash, and seeing your dentist frequently are all good habits to work on. Without a solid routine and check-ups, you risk developing periodontal disease also called periodontitis or gum disease. 

Gum disease is an irreversible oral ailment that can diminish your overall health. If you have it, you can receive treatment to lessen the effects of the disease. If you are concerned about potentially getting periodontal disease, you can practice good oral hygiene techniques to prevent its occurrence.

With the implementation of good oral care, both at home and with the involvement of a dental professional, gum disease can be avoided entirely or managed if already present. 

Preventative measures for periodontal disease involve daily cleaning such as brushing teeth, flossing, and using mouthwash to eliminate the presence of bacteria. Additionally, oral examinations, and deep dental cleanings to remove stains, plaque, and tartar buildup are implemented to prevent gum disease. 

Related Article: Whole Body Connection: The Link Between Diabetes and Your Oral Health

Let’s Recap … 5 Reasons Flossing Your Teeth is Important

  1. Flossing does 40% of the work in removing sticky bacteria, or plaque, from your teeth. Every tooth has five surfaces and when we don’t floss, we are immediately missing two of these surfaces. Plaque build-up can lead to swollen gums, tooth decay, and cavities, or gum disease.
  2. The rest of your body is healthier when you floss. When you have good oral health, you are reducing the risk of stroke, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, respiratory disease, and heart disease—all are linked to gum health and periodontitis. Flossing reduces and removes plaque between the teeth, promoting an overall healthier mouth.
  3. Prevent gingivitis. Gingivitis is an early stage of gum disease where gums become swollen and bleed easily. Healthy gums don’t bleed when you brush or floss. If your gums are bleeding, it is an indication you need to brush and floss more frequently.
  4. Low-cost, efficient tool to a healthy mouth. Flossing is a low-cost and easy way to prevent tooth decay and promote a healthy mouth. While some question how effective flossing is, we know it is not ineffective and helps keep gum tissues healthy. Plus, your dentist can tell right away during a routine cleaning whether you have been flossing regularly.
  5. Your smile will look better. Flossing will lead to better breath, whiter teeth, a more confident-smile. Spending just a couple of extra minutes will increase your overall health, making it an easy commitment to make to yourself and your body.

Related Article: Types of Floss | Choosing the best type of floss for YOU

Making a Difference with Oral Health

Regular dental cleanings are wonderful preventative care. Although you may be brushing and flossing your teeth really well at home, tartar and plaque is impossible to remove with regular brushing and flossing, and can build-up over time. Dentists are able to use specific tools to remove that plaque and tartar, keeping our mouth cleaner and our chances of other complications much lower. 

Work with Dr. Luff and her team to find the most effective solution for your smile! We are always accepting new patients in the Lee’s Summit, MO and surrounding area who are ready to improve the health of their teeth, their confidence and smile! Please call Luff Dental at (816) 875-3391 to schedule your appointment.