Every time you go to see your family dentist, the one thing he will impress on you more than anything else is the need to regularly floss your teeth. Of course, all of us already know that we are supposed to floss our teeth. The problem is that most of us simply don't like dealing with it. At the same time, if you stopped for a moment to think about how good flossing is for your health, you might change your mind. Regular flossing can save you countless hours in your dentist's office, reduce your risks of a variety of oral diseases and may save you from dentures. Even if you are getting close to retiring, flossing can help. You are never too old to start flossing your teeth.
The Best Times to Floss
One of the most important aspects of flossing rests in knowing when you should floss. A good rule of thumb is to floss immediately after eating any kind of food, especially foods like apples, candies and anything else that might get stuck between your teeth. Immediate flossing like this will reduce the amount of time that food stays in contact with the enamel of your teeth.
According to the ADA (American Dental Association), you should always floss before you brush your teeth. This helps to remove any food caught between your teeth and loosen the plaque that can cause gum disease and tooth decay. In addition, it helps to ensure that the fluoride in your toothpaste and the mouthwash you use reach all of the surfaces of your teeth. In doing this, you reduce your risk of tartar buildup that can cause tooth decay and periodontal disease.
Proper Flossing Technique
The average person seems to think that running the floss between their teeth is all there is to it. This is only half the picture: you need to spend more time than this on each tooth to get the job done. The proper technique involves taking a nice, long piece of floss and working it all around the tooth, working the floss into the gum line.
The idea is to get the floss in all of the areas that you are not reaching with your toothbrush. As a final tip, you need to make sure you don't forget to reach around the back of your rearmost molars. Most dentists recommend using string floss instead of one of the many tools, as this gives you plenty of floss to do the job right. The longer piece of floss also allows you to use a clean area for each tooth.
Other Health Reasons for Flossing
While the most important reason for flossing is the overall health of your teeth and gums, there are other implications far beyond preventing gingivitis and periodontal disease. In a number of recent studies, links have been found between poor oral health and other medical conditions, such as an increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and respiratory issues. While part of this may be due to the consumption of junk foods, research shows that high levels of the bacteria living in your mouth may be to blame as well.
In 2003, the Center for Disease Control began a program that includes flossing in their diabetes prevention education program. Using the right flossing technique, along with regular brushing using toothpaste and mouthwash that includes fluoride, have been proven to help keep your teeth and mouth healthier. Combine this with regular dental checkups and you should enjoy healthier teeth and a healthier body. It can also help you to keep your teeth as you get older, rather than having to resort to dentures!
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