Flossing is not what people would choose as the part of self-care to which they look most forward. In most cases, it’s the part neglected, albeit one of the critical aspects of oral health. That’s why dentists encourage the practice to be a primary part of mouth hygiene along with brushing and mouth rinse.
You’ll find a range of types like waxed, unwaxed, even the latest activated charcoal dental floss meant to provide the optimum care and whitening of the teeth. Plus, the different choices make the experience more suitable for individual needs.
While brushing washes and helps reduce the level of plaque from the surfaces, the bristle can’t get into between each tooth. The floss cleans each side down to the gum, working to help prevent periodontal disease. It should be done each day and performed adequately.
Typically, with dental visits, staff will demonstrate the correct procedure for brushing and flossing to get the optimum results. Take advantage of the opportunity to practice the technique while there to ensure you have a complete understanding.
Is Flossing An Important Part Of Oral Hygiene?
While we refer to the hygienic practice as merely flossing teeth, the dental community references the process as “interdental” cleansing or between each tooth. Floss is one tool you can use to achieve this self-care technique. It isn’t relevant which option you only use that you cleanse the areas adequately each day effectively. Learn how often you should floss at https://www.healthline.com/health/dental-and-oral-health/how-often-should-you-floss/.
Doing so not only removes food and particles that become lodged in these spaces, it reaches the plaques the toothbrush can’t effectively, removing it from the sides of the teeth. That’s vital for overall mouth health due to the issues resulting from the substance when left neglected. If you choose not to floss or do so inadequately, you could be contributing to:
- Plaque: Removing plaque is a vital component of hygiene for optimum mouth health. Brushing is not sufficient in removing the substance from every area on, around, and in-between each tooth. The proper method for cleansing the mouth includes brushing, flossing, and mouth rinse to free the mouth of what becomes dislodged.
When ignoring plaque by neglecting to floss, it accumulates and hardens into what terms as tartar. Tartar is not something you can merely brush or even floss away. The tough substance needs removal by a dentist. If it’s not, you will begin to see a deterioration of the surfaces.
- Gums: Gums become involved when neglecting plaque, and tartar develops, with these areas becoming red, inflamed, and increasingly sensitive. These are the beginning signs of disease or gingivitis.
The dentist can reverse the issue if caught in the early stages, but if left to progress into the late stages, becoming periodontal disease, this is irreversible. If your gums are sore when you brush or floss, it’s wise to have the dentist take a look.
- Decay/Cavities: Teeth start to deteriorate when neglected with plaque allowed to develop. Plaque is harsh on the enamel of teeth with the potential for producing holes. When these go ignored, you can experience intense pain, develop infections, or possibly other serious issues. Read whether you should feel guilty about not cleansing around your teeth.
Decay/cavities need taking care of by the dentist before they have the opportunity to spread and so that there’s no possibility for tooth loss. Not only that, as decay progresses, there is the chance for abscess. With this type of infection, there is a risk of traveling to the bloodstream and affecting general health. These are something that needs addressing immediately.
- Chronic Oral Disease: Mouth health directly correlates to general overall health. If you have poor hygiene or develop oral disease for any reason despite practicing a decent hygiene regimen, you can see adverse physical and mental health effects.
People have seen mood changes based on chronic mouth disease, including developing depression and developing physical illnesses, including heart issues.
At the stage of chronic disease, you’ll need to see the dentist on a regular basis and get the appropriate care from a physician for any developing physical or mental consequences. It’s never too late to begin an adequate hygiene routine to go along with dental care.
The whole regimen in mouth cleansing is critical, from brushing to practicing adequate flossing to mouth rinsing. Many people neglect flossing believing it’s not that necessary if you brush thoroughly enough. But the floss is the only tool that can get in between the teeth.
The sides of your teeth need the same care and treatment as the surfaces, especially plaque removal in particular. Using floss helps to reduce chances for loss of teeth, cavity/decay, or gum disease.
But even at-home cleansing is not sufficient when it comes to hygienic measures. It’s critical to incorporate regular dental cleanings into your routine. The professional method takes away anything you might be missing. Plus, the included exam catches any potential problems early to develop a resolution before they progress to an irreversible point.
Alternative Floss Methods
Some people are hesitant to floss because they don’t like the technique, and therefore the space in-between their teeth gets neglected. Find out how many people participate in the practice at https://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-05-02/how-many-americans-floss-their-teeth/. Fortunately, you’re not limited to merely using floss to cleanse this area.
One thing to remember is that there are various flossing materials to help make the method more comfortable and suited to different individuals and for unique needs. You can even whiten with the activated charcoal line of dental products, including toothpaste and floss.
But if floss is not something you can tolerate, you’ll find today that the dental market has plenty of tools and advances in technology to ensure that you find something to help you accomplish the task instead of avoiding it.
The ideal choice for you is the one that you won’t dread at the beginning and end of each day. The wise thing is to sample a few to see which is the most convenient and pleasant for you. Some methods meant to clean these spaces are:
- Conventional String Floss: The tried-and-true method most people associate with cleaning between each tooth is string floss, whether waxed or unwaxed (or a few other options you’ll find). These come in rolls that you take off in sections and wrap around your index fingers to maneuver into the spaces around the teeth. Throw these away when through flossing.
The string can be challenging if the space is somewhat tight, getting caught up and, in some cases, creating discomfort. Some individuals avoid cleansing these areas because they’re not fond of the process. It’s a common reason for neglect.
- Picks: Dental picks are disposable devices offering a plastic handle to grab with floss attached so that there’s no need to wrap it around your fingers. You do not reuse these.
The material is full of bacteria from cleansing the area as it would be if you were merely using the string without the handle. It’s not possible to reload the plastic handle with new floss. You need to toss the entire piece and bring out a new one for each use.
- A Brush: “Interdental” brushes are like mini toothbrushes. These boast the ability to clean tough to reach spots in the mouth, particularly if there are any gaps or if you have orthodontics.
The brushes are not necessarily the suitable device to get into the tight spaces in between each tooth. That requires some type of flossing equipment. You can speak with the dentist about potential alternatives like possibly a water flosser. These are starting to increase in popularity due to the comfort level and convenience.
As long as you develop the habit, it doesn’t matter with which method you decide to cleanse. Try a few before you settle on one to see which offers the most comfort, convenience, and ease yet does the best job of getting rid of the food and particles.
Develop The Habit If You Don’t Currently Have One
If you don’t currently have flossing as part of your oral hygiene regimen, it’s never too late to start. The idea is to develop a sustainable routine for you on an everyday basis for your lifespan to maintain mouth health and thereby contribute to overall wellness.
Initially, the process will likely cause some discomfort with the possibility of bleeding, but that shouldn’t stop you from flossing. That means to proceed a bit more gently until the area adjusts to the technique. The goal is to get rid of plaque so that there is less opportunity for gingivitis and its adverse effects. Hints on how you can develop a habit of flossing:
- Schedule: Make an appointment with yourself each morning and before bed at the same time each day to perform your hygiene, including cleansing around each tooth. Make sure it’s a time when you can attribute adequate attention and detail to the practice instead of rushing through the process.
These scheduled efforts each day can result in optimum mouth health, preventing unnecessary visits to the dental provider and staving off possible disease, cavities/decay, and loss of teeth. After a while of participating in the activity regularly, it will become a force of habit where if you don’t, it will bother you.
- Health: With oral hygiene, including flossing under control plus routine visits to the dentist for professional cleanings and exams to detect possible disease and take corrective measures, there is the potential to protect overall wellness. The suggestion is that mouth health has a direct correlation to physical and mental well-being.
In cases of poor hygiene, there is a good potential for illness to develop in other parts of the body, and mood changes with the potential for depression.
A good hygienic regimen means brushing two times every day for approximately two minutes in a gentle manner with soft bristles and non-abrasive, whitening toothpaste plus flossing up/down on each side and the back of each tooth at least one time each day. Maintain a whole diet that’s balanced with low sugar and acid and see the dentist routinely.
You’re not alone in your hesitancy to floss. A great many people share that resistance. But there are some pretty cool options on the market to make the process enjoyable, including choices meant to help whiten teeth while making them healthy, like activated charcoal.
Include the same type of toothpaste with this, and you can have a vibrant, brilliant smile with less chance for plaque, cavities or decay, potential tooth loss, and disease.
In any case, the most important thing is to find a method that makes you want to participate each day for a lifetime. Flossing can be pleasant, armed with a suitable device, adequate knowledge on how to do it without discomfort, and a desire for a healthy mouth. Find your niche and give it a shot.