The Importance of Flossing

When you go in for your semi-annual visit at the Placerville Dental Group, you’re likely quizzed on how often you floss your teeth. Like many patients, your honest answer may be “Not enough.” For some, slipping a string of floss between their teeth and moving it back and forth seems unnatural, let alone uncomfortable. In most cases, there is no instant gratification to flossing. Sure, it is a relief when you dislodge that stuck popcorn kernel or a big blob of food gunk, but many patients think that flossing your teeth really doesn’t accomplish much.

What You Don’t Notice When You Floss

Interestingly, some reports list flossing as a vital tool, typically doing about 40% of the work in removing microscopic bacteria and sticky plaque. Bacteria produces acids that eat away at your teeth, and plaque provides a comfy home for that bacteria. If left in place, plaque eventually becomes tartar, which discolors your teeth and reinforces the “homestead” that bacteria make in your mouth. Flossing helps dislodge plaque before it becomes tartar and reduces the grip bacteria have on your teeth.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), flossing is essential to oral health. Flossing gets to the areas between your teeth and just under your gumline, where your toothbrush and toothpaste seldom reach. Removing the bacteria, plaque, and food debris from these areas helps to prevent periodontal disease and gingivitis.
It’s also Interesting to note that your gums respond positively to certain types of stimulation, like the massage from an electric toothbrush or water flosser. They also respond to clean areas — they can easily adhere to your tooth enamel when bacteria, plaque and tartar are not in the way. Flossing regularly may also help reduce the size of gum pockets, leaving less area for bacteria to hide.

Your Choice in Dental Floss

Mush like toothbrushes and toothpaste, there are many varieties when it comes to dental floss. If you have large spaces between your teeth, a woven floss is more effective, while teeth that are close together often require flat floss. Some floss is waxed, some is flavored, and still others claim to help whiten your teeth. To a certain extent, your choice of floss is simply a matter of preference, as long as you use it regularly!

There are also floss threaders for patients with braces or other dental appliances, to help get underneath braces or retainers. Interdental brushes fit between the teeth like a toothpick and are very common. Dental picks are small appliances that have a strip of dental floss on one end and a pick on the other, allowing a quick cleaning after a meal — but please remember: toothpicks and dental picks are not meant to replace dental floss as part of your oral routine.Used in combination with dental floss, you can more effectively clean between your teeth, but it takes floss to clear the gums behind the last molars.

No Need to Wait for a Consultation

Your best option is to discuss the type of dental floss you should use with your dentist or hygienist at the Placerville Dental Group. We know your teeth as well as you do, if not better, and we also have up-to-date information on all kinds of dental floss and other tools. Even though you could wait until your next routine checkup to discuss flossing, being prudent is its own reward. If you have any questions about what kind of dental floss you should be using, give us a call, or use our website to schedule a consultation.


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