Flossing helps to prevent gum disease and it cleans places on the teeth where an ordinary toothbrush can’t reach.
Brushing is a good beginning, but flossing is crucial for maintaining healthy teeth.
The bacteria that get caught between teeth where a toothbrush can’t reach can be removed by flossing.
Bacteria can cause numerous problems in the mouth. For example, bacteria cause acid which eats into the enamel of teeth and causes decay.
Bacteria also cause sulfur which results in halitosis.
Remnants of food and bacteria turn into plaque. This plaque becomes stronger and turns into a more toothbrush resistant substance known as tarter. Tarter must be removed by a dentist.
If left alone long enough, tarter permits bacteria to breed and results in a more serious condition known as gingivitis. Left alone, gingivitis will worsen and cause periodontal disease.
When bacteria have been permitted to invade the bones and gums, periodontal disease occurs. If left untreated periodontal disease will cause the teeth to fall out.
If it has been a while since you have flossed, you may see some blood in your mouth and on the floss. This means that your gums are irritated and need flossing.
If you continue flossing and brushing the blood will eventually go away. If it doesn’t, you need to see your dentist.
How to Floss
- Use approximately 18” of floss and wind some of it around a finger on one hand and the rest around a finger on the other hand.
- With a rubbing motion, guide the floss between the teeth.
- After the floss reaches the gum line, floss against a tooth and slide the floss into the space between the gum and tooth.
- While maintain the floss against a tooth, move the floss away from the gum with an up and down motion.
- Repeat as required.
- Floss between all of the teeth, including the hard to reach ones and floss the back of the last teeth.
- Use a gentle motion. Don’t use a sawing motion. This can be painful and cause injury.