Every time you go to the dentist you probably hear the same
question: have you been flossing? If your answer is that you don't or
that you only do sometimes then your dentist will stress the importance
of regularly flossing your teeth. Your dentist will also probably give
you complimentary floss. Still, though, many people don't floss their
teeth at all, or they don't floss regularly. You probably know you
should be flossing, but you don't realize how serious the repercussions
can be. Dental care professionals don't say this because they own stock
in a floss company!
What Exactly Is Floss?
is a soft thread. It's either going to be made of a multi-filament
nylon or mono-filament Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). Nylon floss can
be waxed or unwaxed and comes in assorted flavors to make the process
more pleasant. Sometimes this type of floss will break or tear. PTFE is
less likely to shred and break, but both varieties are effective when
What Is Flossing?
when done properly, reaches parts of your teeth that you toothbrush
can't, like between your teeth and under your gum line. To floss, you
should start with about 18 inches of your floss thread. Wind it around
your middle fingers until you've got about 2 inches to work with. Hold
the floss between your forefinger and your thumb, make sure that it's
pulled tight and then just work it up and down between your teeth. Be
sure to get the floss under your gum line gently, never forcing it. Your
gums are very delicate, and if you floss too hard, you can actually cut
them. Continue making your way around your mouth using clean sections
of floss as you go. That's all there is to flossing.
Why Is Flossing So Important?
toothbrush only cleans the surface areas of your teeth. No matter how
often you brush or what type of brush you use, it simply won't reach
every part of every tooth. There's a tight space between each of your
teeth and there's actually a small gap between your teeth and gums too.
The tiny particles of food and tiny bacteria that contribute to the
formation of plaque have no problem getting into these spaces. Mouthwash
can help to kill the bacteria, but it won't help to remove the bits of
food that get stuck there, and it doesn't get rid of plaque that has
Plaque, if left unattended, will eventually turn
into tartar. Plaque is a sticky substance that brushing and flossing
removes with little effort, but tartar is hard and crusty. Only special
tools used by dental professionals and a process known as scaling can
remove it. Tartar also makes it more difficult for your regular, at-home
techniques to remove new plaque that builds up.
is a lifelong battle, and it's the main goal of pretty much all dental
care. Plaque starts to form between 4 and 12 hours after each brushing,
which is why both brushing and flossing are both extremely important.
Each time you brush you should also be taking a few moments to floss.
The two go hand-in-hand, and they are two tools that work together to
complete the job that is cleaning your teeth. When your plaque turns to
tartar and you can't remove new plaque, then that new plaque is more
likely to turn into even more tartar. This is a dangerous cycle.
health not only keeps your smile looking its best, but it also prevents
bad breath, gum disease, and periodontal disease. Tartar creates a home
for even more bacteria leading to gingivitis, a gum infection.
Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. The final and most severe
stage of gum disease is periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is
painful and all around unpleasant. It can even lead to the loss of teeth
that have become too infected to save or that have become loosened by
the condition eating away at your gums and roots.
your teeth clean and looking great on the surface, but it's the places
you can't see where plaque and tartar can really do the most damage. If
your teeth look fine when you smile, but you have bacteria eating away
at your gums and teeth below your gum line, then your mouth still isn't
healthy. It's only a matter of time before you start experiencing the
negative consequences. Simply flossing can save you a lot of trouble and
money down the road.
Dr. Marichia Attalla, D.D.S, P.C. is a Periodontist in Nassau
County, NY with more than 10 years experience practicing the art of
dentistry, including the treatment of gum disease, gingivitis and
periodontal disease. Learn more by visiting her website at www.nassaucountyperiodontist.com
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