Yes, Flossing Is Essential for Dental Health: Here’s what you should know

Be honest: how often do you actually floss? We’ll bet that it’s probably not the recommended twice a day.

Last summer, when news reports circulated saying flossing may not be necessary, you may have rejoiced. But before you get too excited and never pick up the floss again, let’s talk.

The Buzz

The latest dietary guidelines issued by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services in August 2016 dropped all mention of flossing. And, other reports suggested the effectiveness of regular flossing had never been researched.

However, the American Dental Association, the Centers for Disease Control, and the U.S. Surgeon General continue to tout the benefits of daily flossing. And, that’s our position here at Willow Spring Family Dentistry.

Why You Need to Floss

Just like brushing twice a day, flossing is integral in taking care of your teeth and gums. Cleaning between the teeth, which we call interdental cleaning, removes plaque that can cause cavities or gum disease. It’s tough to reach all of these spots when you brush alone.

Plaque contains hundreds of species of bacteria, some good and others bad. These bacteria, along with food particles and water, can cause plaque to build up on your gum line.

Flossing or other interdental cleaners—dental picks, pre-threaded flossers, tiny brushes, and wooden plaque removers—are the best way to clean these hard-to-reach areas.

How to Floss Properly

We recommend flossing at least once per day. The time of day doesn’t matter so much—some people prefer to floss before bed, others first thing in the morning. Just fit it into your dental health routine sometime. It also doesn’t matter whether you brush or floss first: do what works best for you.

In case you’re unsure, here are some tips for flossing correctly:

  • Use a long piece of floss, about 18 inches
  • Wrap it around your middle fingers and hold it tautly with your thumbs and index fingers
  • Slide it up and down between your teeth, and around the base of each tooth below the gum line in a C-shape, while rubbing it along each side of the tooth’s surface
  • Use clean sections of floss for each tooth

Flossing is a good habit to have, and it’s an integral part of a healthy smile. We’ll be glad to answer any of your flossing questions. Give us a call.

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