Ins and Outs of Flossing

Dental Floss

A Few Reasons Why You Need to Floss

Imagine being a child again and going to the dentist. What was the first question they asked you when you plopped down in the chair? “Are you brushing and flossing daily?” “Yes” was always the correct answer – or at least the answer the dentist wanted to hear.

“Yes” is likely the answer for many other dental patients who have been in the office, as well, but is this answer valid? We often take flossing for granted and think brushing will do the job, but flossing is a vital part of your oral health.

Why you should floss?

Floss reaches parts of your mouth that your toothbrush cannot – Some food particles get caught between your teeth and you may not even realize it. The only way to free these lodged particles is to floss. While these particles are lodged in between your teeth, they are eating away at your gums and breaking down the enamel on your teeth. Therefore, the longer they are lodged, the more likely tooth decay could set in and cause cavities.

Prevents gum disease – As stated earlier, flossing scrapes plaque off of the surface of your teeth. If you skip flossing, the plaque and tartar will build up and may potentially lead to periodontal/gum disease.

Plaque buildup can lead to other serious diseases – Inflammation from plaque buildup in your mouth can be an underlying problem caused by heart disease or rheumatoid arthritis. The more plaque buildup in your mouth, the more susceptible you are to these life threatening diseases.

Reduce cavities – Refusing to floss can lead to tooth decay. As plaque builds up over time, it will slowly start to create acid. This acid eats away the tooth enamel, resulting in a cavity that will need to be filled to prevent even further damage.

Without flossing you are missing 40% of your mouth – Brushing only cleans 60% of your mouth and it cannot reach the spaces between your teeth at all. Teeth have 5 surfaces, and without flossing, you are leaving 2 of the surfaces of every tooth unclean.

When should you floss?

You should floss at least once a day to make sure any remaining debris or food particles are removed. There is no specific time of day that to floss, rather, you should pick a time that best fits into your schedule and take a couple extra minutes to floss. Making sure you are doing it correctly and thoroughly is the most vital aspect.

How to floss?

Are you unsure of the proper flossing technique? Practice these simple steps and you’ll soon become an expert at flossing.

  1. Rip off 16in. of floss
  2. Wrap it around your two middle fingers
  3. Start in the back of your mouth and begin moving the floss between every tooth
  4. Make sure you move the floss in a “C” shape around each side of each tooth

Bi-yearly cleanings with your dentist can help rid plaque and make sure your teeth are healthy. If you are concerned about the health of your teeth and would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Mogren, please call our office at 231-737-5500 or schedule a dental appointment online.

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