The American Dental Association recommends using an interdental cleaner like floss every single day. There are a variety of reasons that this is important for your long-term dental health. Proper dental hygiene is critical for preventing gum disease and cavities. It also ensures the removal of bacteria-filled plaque, which can lead to more severe periodontal disease.
Why Does Daily Flossing Matter?
At Northfield Dental Group, we provide not only high-quality dental care but also patient education on how to best care for your smile. Many people still don’t realize how important regular daily flossing is, or how not flossing daily can impact your health! The sticky film we call plaque contains bacteria that feeds off of food remnants in the mouth. After the bacteria consumes these sugars, acid byproducts are released. This acid can decay the outer shell of tooth structure, leading to cavities.
While brushing teeth with an appropriate toothpaste is a core component of basic dental hygiene, flossing daily is also necessary. Plaque that is not removed via brushing can accumulate and ultimately harden into tartar buildup or calculus along the gum lines. Tartar can only be removed at your dentist’s office.
Flossing daily removes food particles and plaque from between the teeth, decreasing your risk of gingivitis (the early stage of gum disease). This can help prevent more advanced gum disease and erosion down the line. Research has also indicated a correlation between regular daily oral hygiene practices and lower risk of certain types of heart disease. The American Heart Association has stated that this may reflect a link between oral health and general health.
What Should You Use To Floss?
Sometimes people use their fingernails or objects like folded paper or cards, cutlery or safety pins to clean food out of their teeth. These approaches are not only less effective than floss but can also cause pain or damage your teeth or gums. It’s best to only use tools designed specifically for teeth, such as dental picks and string floss. Our Northfield Dental Group team can help you determine which options are best for you. For example, dental picks are a popular option for those who want help flossing hard-to-reach spots. Water flossers may be a good alternative for patients with braces or dental bridges.
When Is the Best Time To Floss?
Some people prefer to floss before bed and go to sleep feeling their mouth is clean. Others prefer to floss first thing in the morning or even after lunch. The good news is that the time of day is not so important — what matters is that you floss daily and are consistent!
Flossing daily is even important for small children. Talk to your dentist about proper flossing techniques as you don’t want to be too harsh when you floss, but it is also important to be thorough. If you have been out of the habit of flossing, it may feel uncomfortable at first, but will get easier within a few weeks.
For an evaluation, dental health education or treatment recommendations, contact Northfield Dental Group via our online form or by calling our office today at (973) 736-0111.