Everyone loves a healthy and beautiful smile, but let’s face it, keeping your smile healthy and beautiful takes some effort. This means seeing your Calgary dentist at least annually for a dental check-up and dental hygiene cleaning and maintaining a consistent oral healthcare routine. But what should your at-home oral healthcare routine consist of and do you really have to floss your teeth daily, or at all? Below our Calgary dentist, Dr. Dirk Thompson, D.D..S., discusses whether you should be flossing your teeth regularly, as well as the benefits of flossing your teeth.
DO I HAVE TO FLOSS MY TEETH?
You’ve probably heard many times from your Calgary dentist that maintaining a consistent oral healthcare routine at home is an absolute must to keep your smile healthy, happy and beautiful. In fact, this has been a consistent message in our Calgary dentist’s blog posts. Although there have been some questions recently about whether flossing your teeth is of any benefit, according to both the American Dental Association and the Canadian Dental Association, as well as our Calgary dentist, a crucial part of your at-home oral healthcare routine includes not only brushing your teeth for two minutes twice per day, but also flossing your teeth daily.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF FLOSSING YOUR TEETH?
Many people have had that very unpleasant and sometimes painful experience of having a piece of popcorn stuck in their teeth. When this happens, there’s a huge feeling of relief when that elusive piece of popcorn kernel is removed with the use of dental floss. In addition to turning to floss when you have something stuck in between your teeth, our Calgary dentist recommends incorporating flossing into your daily routine for these additional benefits:
1. FLOSSING REMOVES PLAQUE
Although brushing your teeth gets ride of plaque which can cause cavities, according to our Calgary dentist, brushing your teeth alone cannot adequately get rid of the plaque that coats the areas between your teeth and accumulates on your gumline simply because toothbrushes cannot reach these areas. Brushing alone also cannot adequately remove any food particles that are stuck between your teeth. This, according to our Calgary dentist, is where dental floss steps in. If plaque is not removed from your teeth and gumlines, it can turn into tartar (calculus), which is very hard. Once tartar forms, only your dentist or dental hygienist can remove it.
2. FLOSSING MAY HELP TO DECREASE THE RISK OF CAVITIES
Because flossing your teeth helps to remove plaque and the accumulation of plaque can eventually lead to a cavity, our Calgary dentist advises that flossing your teeth may also help to decrease your risk of cavities, but only if done consistently and properly.
3. FLOSSING MAY HELP TO PREVENT GUM DISEASE
Often our Calgary dentist is asked how to prevent gum disease. Our Calgary dentist advises that an effective way to prevent gum disease is by brushing your teeth at least twice a day and adding daily flossing to your oral care routine.
According to our Calgary dentist, one of the first signs of gum disease, or gingivitis, is inflammation of your gum tissue. Another early sign of gum disease seen by our Calgary dentist is bleeding gums. If not treated early by your Calgary dentist, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, which is a more serious condition. Periodontitis can lead to gum recession and more serious dental health issues such as loose teeth and even tooth loss.
4. FLOSSING HELPS TO REDUCE BAD BREATH
Another frequent complaint heard by our Calgary dentist relates to bad breath. In the absence of any causes such as medication use or other health issues, according to our Calgary dentist, your bad breath may be caused by food getting trapped in your teeth. When food is trapped and starts to decay, this can lead to bad breath or halitosis. Flossing your teeth helps to dislodge any trapped food, which can contribute to your bad breath.
OUR CALGARY DENTIST’S FLOSSING GUIDE
Now that our Calgary dentist has made clear that flossing your teeth daily is a must, you might be interested to know that there is actually a technique to floss and brush your teeth properly. In fact, according to a 2015 study (https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00784-014-1306-2), it is relatively common for people to not use floss properly and also to brush their teeth inadequately. To make sure you are getting the maximum benefit out of flossing your teeth, our Calgary dentist recommends that you take the following steps:
- Take a piece of dental floss about 18 to 24 inches in length. Wrap each end of the floss around both of your middle fingers so that about 1 to 2 inches of floss is left to floss your teeth. Hold the tooth floss taut with both your index fingers and thumbs.
- Carefully place the tooth floss between two teeth. It does not matter where you start, as long as each area is flossed properly.
- Gently glide the tooth floss up and down the inside surface of each tooth. Our Calgary dentist advises to be very careful to not rub the floss against your gums or snap the tooth floss into the gums, as this can actually damage your gum tissue.
- As the tooth floss reaches your gums at the base of your tooth, curve the floss into a “C” shape and gently rub the side of each tooth with an up and down motion. Complete this motion for every tooth. Our Calgary dentist recommends using a new piece of the floss for every area.
DO I HAVE TO FLOSS MY TEETH IF I HAVE BRACES?
Yes! Although it may be a little trickier and take a little more time to floss your teeth if you have braces, our Calgary dentist absolutely advises that flossing your teeth with braces is a must!
If you have braces, our Calgary dentist recommends that you try to use a floss that is waxed, which may be less likely to tear and/or get stuck between the wires of your braces.
NOW BREAK OUT THAT FLOSS!
Now that our Calgary dentist has made you aware of the benefits of flossing, go ahead and floss those teeth! Flossing is a simple, easy and quick way to improve the health of your teeth and gums and should be a regular part of your at-home oral healthcare routine. In our next Calgary dentist blog post, we’ll review the different types of interdental flossing tools available to make your oral healthcare routine tailored to your individual needs and preferences.
If you have any questions about your home oral healthcare routine, or if you would like to make an appointment with our Calgary dentist, call us today at 403.283.4252. Together we can make your smile healthy, happy and beautiful for a lifetime!
This blog post written by our Calgary dentist, Dr. Dirk Thompson, D.D.S., is for informational purposes only. It is not to be taken or used as a substitute for dental, medical or other professional advice, treatment or diagnosis. Always ask your dentist, physician or other healthcare professional for advice before altering your diet or healthcare routine. Individual patient needs and oral healthcare concerns vary so please consult your dentist for more information about your specific dental health requirements.
Copyright 2021: Dirk A. Thompson Professional Corporation operating as Advance Your Health Dental. Dr. Dirk A. Thompson, D.D.S., is a general dentist in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
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