Flossing helps to promote a healthy lifestyle. Heart disease has been linked with gum disease, and gum disease can occur within just 24 hours! (And you thought visiting the dentist was scary! Failing to floss is even scarier.) Incidentally, most patients who floss daily don’t fear dental appointments at all.
We recommend brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing every night before going to bed. But if you could only choose between brushing your teeth or flossing, you should know that flossing is more essential. Infected gums produce bacteria that can get into your bloodstream and affect your cardiovascular wellness. If you don’t floss, infection of the gums is essentially unavoidable.
Flossing is so vital because gum disease most frequently occurs between the teeth; so while brushing is important, flossing is absolutely necessary. And you might consider flossing each night before going to bed. Your salivary glands neutralize bacteria, but they slow down at night while you sleep, so you should floss every night.
Never snap the floss into your gums; instead, gently glide the floss between your teeth. Snapping the floss into your gums can actually detach your gum tissue from your teeth. If it’s difficult for you to avoid snapping your gums, try using floss that’s specifically designed for tight teeth.
Don’t “saw” the floss back and forth, either. Some flossers believe that proper flossing technique is to simply move back and forth, in and out, between the teeth. But you should bend the floss into a C shape and cup around the tooth to enable you to reach the bacteria that lead to gum disease.
We recommend that you avoid flossing with anything other than actual dental floss. Sometimes patients use their fingernails, paper clips or some other sharp objects rather than dental floss. This dangerous practice can puncture and damage your gums. Waxed or unwaxed dental floss is preferred.
Wash your hands with soap and water before flossing. If you’re new to flossing, your gums may be inflamed and prone to bleeding. Therefore, it’s important to sanitize your hands prior to flossing to protect yourself from other infections. And we’d recommend swishing and rinsing out your mouth with water after flossing to allow loose particles of food and bacteria to be whisked away.
If you take the time to brush your teeth twice a day and floss once daily, you are likely to enjoy good oral health throughout your life. Just be sure to visit us for your regular checkups, as well.