Since we were young, we’ve all been warned of the dangers of not flossing. We’ve been told horror stories of the consequences of not flossing and and we all know the dangers of tooth decay, but why do so many of us still have trouble with adopting this all-important habit?
The truth is, flossing is even more important than brushing, because you don’t floss just to remove food from your teeth. Flossing gets rid of plaque, the film of bacteria that forms between your teeth and along your gum line. Getting rid of the plaque daily prevents gum disease and tooth loss. Everyone gets plaque, and it can only be removed by flossing or a deep cleaning from your dentist.
A common reason why people have trouble flossing and sticking to the habit is not being able to do it correctly. Here are some tips from your Mesa dental office for proper flossing:
- Use 18 inches of floss. Wrap most of it around the middle finger of one hand, the rest around your other middle finger.
- Grasp the string tightly between your thumb and forefinger, and use a rubbing motion to guide it between teeth.
- When the floss reaches the gum line, form a C to follow the shape of the tooth.
- Hold the strand firmly against the tooth, and move it gently up and down.
- Repeat with the other tooth, and then repeat the entire process with the rest of your teeth.
- Use fresh sections of floss as you go.
Another common reason that people don’t floss is that it’s often painful and may cause bleeding as you’re recreating the habit. It will stop hurting as much as you start to do it regularly, and your gums will become accustomed to it. Be sure to talk to your dentist if you continue to have issues with pain when flossing.
It may be difficult to see the immediate benefits of flossing, especially when you’re young, but as you get older, and you’ve kept your teeth, you will have your great flossing habits to thank. Both you and your dentist will notice the difference!