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Posted on: April 26, 2021
Why Flossing Has to Be Part of Your Dental Care Routine
Flossing is essential for the best oral health. We’ve been told for decades that we need to brush twice daily if we’re to have good oral health. Although this remains true, it’s not enough to keep the most dangerous disease at bay. In addition to regular and frequent brushing, you need to floss at least once each day. Some dentists state that flossing once is the equivalent of brushing twice, so be sure you don’t neglect your daily flossing. The best time is just before bedtime as long as you don’t eat anything after you floss. It doesn’t matter whether you use waxed or unwaxed floss or if you use dental floss, a flosser, or an electric flosser, as long as you floss. Be sure to rinse your mouth thoroughly after you floss.
After you eat, a sticky residue remains on your teeth. It’s called plaque and is rife with bacteria. When plaque isn’t removed through brushing and flossing, it settles between your teeth and gums and hardens. When plaque remains on the teeth and gums, it will lead to cavities, decay, inflammation, and gum disease.
Researchers have linked gum disease and poor oral hygiene to several serious health issues, including dementia, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and pneumonia. It’s amazing, but true, that many of these issues can be prevented by a toothbrush and a small length of dental floss. Dentists think that the inflammation caused by gum disease is responsible for some of the health issues listed above, but whatever the cause, the problems can be avoided by regular brushing and flossing.
Anyone who’s in a high-risk group should be particularly diligent in their oral hygiene regimen. Those who have a dry mouth, whether due to genetic makeup or their medications, are considered to be high-risk. One of the functions of saliva is to cleanse the mouth continually, so when you lack saliva, the bacteria doesn’t get washed from your mouth. This contributes to disease and poor oral health. If you’re in one of these groups, talk to your dentist about solutions.
In addition to recognizing the importance of flossing, you need to know how to floss correctly. Use about 18 inches of floss – it may help to loop it once or twice around your index fingers and thumbs – and pull it taut. Insert it between your teeth and move it in a back-and-forth and up-and-down motion so that you cover all the surfaces of your teeth. Repeat this between all your teeth and use a fresh section of floss for each tooth. Rinse your mouth well after you floss.
Your Kids’ Teeth Need Flossing Too!
Flossing is as essential for kids as it is for adults, although teaching flossing basics to a very young child can be challenging. Considering the importance of flossing, however, it’s imperative that your kids learn how to floss. When a child has two teeth that abut, they should begin learning how to floss. The following tips may make it easier to get your kids into the flossing habit.
Flossing Fun for Kids: Five Ingenious Ideas
Kids learn better when there are incentives and fun activities. Consider the following tips for making flossing fun and enticing your kids to learn flossing basics.
- Success is yours: Create or buy a flossing chart and hang it in the child’s bathroom at their eye level. Each time they floss, add a favorite sticker or star to the chart. After they have accumulated several successive stars or stickers, reward them with a favorite movie, an extended bedtime, or some other treat.
- It’s all fun and games: Turn floss time into party time with lively tunes that they can dance to or tunes with a lively beat that they can floss to. Make it into storytime with good guys and bad guys. Use your creativity.
- Tools for kids: Adult flossing paraphernalia is boring and cumbersome. Get brightly colored or flavored floss for them, and flossing tools that are brightly colored and tailored to the size of their small hands.
- Praise their performance: Everyone, especially kids, responds well to positive performance, so be liberal with praise as they master the steps of flossing. Don’t be phony, though. Kids hate that.
- Lead by example: Children often emulate their parents, so be sure that you floss every day. You can’t stress the importance of flossing when you don’t floss. You could also make it a family activity with family rewards.
Foolproof Flossing: Four Easy Steps
The American Dental Association has published guidelines for learning flossing in four easy steps. They are as follows:
- Wind: Using about 18 inches of floss, grasp each end between your thumbs and index fingers, and then pull the floss taut.
- Guide: Use your index fingers to guide the floss between the bottom and top of each tooth.
- Glide: Gently move the floss smoothly between the teeth, using a fresh section for each tooth.
- Slide: Continue to slide the floss between each tooth and move it up and down over the entire surface of the tooth and between the gum line. Be sure to rinse thoroughly after you floss.
If you dislike dental floss, there are alternatives. Hand-held flossers are available that work like dental floss, except you hold the handle instead of the floss. Similar electric models are also available.
If you have braces or other orthodontic work, be careful not to entangle the floss because you can damage the orthodontic appliance or your teeth or gums. If you have questions, your dentist can advise you of alternatives that will protect your orthodontic work but enable you to floss adequately. Floss threaders and orthodontic floss are available that allow you to work in smaller spaces.
Repeating your brushing and flossing regimen every day will eventually turn it into a routine that becomes automatic. It doesn’t matter whether you brush first or floss first, use waxed or unwaxed floss, manually brush and floss, or use electric appliances. The important thing is to brush and floss regularly and to rinse well afterward.
If you have questions on flossing techniques or need assistance, call Ramapo Dental Care at (845) 512-1219, and we’ll be happy to help you.