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How (and Why) to Floss Better

Jan 10, 2024
Regularly brushing your teeth is a habit, but how often do you remember to floss? Is it truly essential, considering the thorough job your toothbrush does in maintaining your oral hygiene? Learn how flossing plays a key role in overall oral health.

Approximately 25% of Americans, spanning all age groups, have untreated tooth decay. Steering clear of this concerning statistic requires diligent daily teeth-cleaning habits. 

The ideal scenario involves cleaning your teeth after every meal to eliminate food particles and thwart the formation of plaque, a sticky film housing harmful bacteria. But brushing twice a day and rinsing between meals is generally effective — provided that flossing is also part of the routine.

At Tropical Dental Care, our team of skilled dentists is dedicated to ensuring the well-being of your teeth and gums between your comprehensive biannual dental examinations and professional cleanings

Proper brushing with the right technique and tools is crucial, and so is incorporating effective flossing into your oral health regimen.

Do you floss regularly, and if so, are you doing it as efficiently as possible? Keep reading to discover why mastering proper flossing might be the key missing element in your oral care routine.

Why floss?

Flossing involves using a thin, layered strip of material designed to enhance strength and durability. These thin strips easily navigate between your teeth, removing trapped food particles that, if left unattended, can solidify into tartar at or below the gumline.

Once tartar hardens on a tooth, only a dental professional can remove it. Flossing safeguards these vulnerable areas, preventing tartar buildup, cavities, diseases, and decay.

How flossing benefits you

The primary advantage of flossing lies in the removal of plaque, preventing it from transforming into tartar. Additionally, flossing reaches areas that toothbrushes may not be able to access, eliminating food particles.

While dentists previously recommended flossing after brushing, the order has reversed. Flossing first removes lodged food particles, allowing enamel-protecting minerals like fluoride from toothpaste to remain on your teeth.

Combining flossing with tooth brushing at least once a day helps:

  • Prevent cavities
  • Ward off gingivitis
  • Reduce and prevent halitosis (bad breath)
  • Safeguard your heart

Incorporate flossing into your evening brushing routine, and for added benefits, include it in your morning routine as well.

Consequences of skipping flossing

Neglecting to floss increases your risk of various oral health issues, including inflamed gums (gingivitis) and infected gums (periodontal disease). Tartar that hardens on teeth can flake off, entering the bloodstream and potentially causing complications in your heart and brain.

How to floss effectively

To optimize your flossing technique, begin with approximately 18 inches of floss. Hold about an inch taut between two fingers, guiding the strip between each tooth and sliding it carefully below the gumline to capture unseen particles.

Utilize a clean one-inch strip for each tooth, aiming for at least once, preferably twice, daily flossing.

Once you've mastered flossing, maintain your biannual teeth cleaning appointments. Reach out to our friendly staff at our Tomball, Texas, office to schedule an appointment today.