Some people might think flossing is a big waste of time. After all, what purpose does running a small string in between your teeth serve anyway? You already brush your teeth twice a day to remove plaque, so does flossing really make much difference?
When you brush your teeth and depending on how you do it, you are only removing plaque from three of the four sides of the teeth – the front, the back, and the top. The bristles on your tooth brush cannot easy get in between each tooth, so you are not brush the left and right sides of your teeth.
Plus, as you brush, you could inadvertently push plaque into the small openings in between the teeth. To illustrate, picture an outdoor patio deck on the back of a home. In between each board are small gaps. When you clean your deck and scrub the deck boards, soap and water can get into the gaps, but it is not easy to get a brush into this area, much like in between your teeth.
Flossing is the only way to truly get in between the teeth and ensure the left and right sides also have plaque removed. Otherwise, cavity-causing bacteria can form and slowly start eating away at the enameled layer of the teeth.
In addition, as plaque hardens it is no longer sticky and easily removed with floss. Rather it becomes tartar and can start to irritate the gum tissue, which can lead to gum disease and periodontal disease.
How Much Does Flossing Really Help?
If you rush through the flossing process, it is not any different from brushing your teeth quickly. You will not remove much of the plaque and it will remain on the surface of your teeth. Yet, if you take your time and slowly floss in between each teeth so the floss is ran down the side of the tooth to the gum, it can help remove a large amount of dental plaque, as well as any trapped food particles.
What Should I Do If I Haven’t Been Flossing?
It is never too late to change your dental habits and start flossing regularly, once a day. However, it is a good idea to have your teeth cleaned by your dentist or dental hygienist to ensure tartar and plaque have been sufficiently removed from in between the teeth. Then, brushing for at least two minutes twice a day and flossing once a day can help maintain that “dental visit clean feeling.”
When Is the Best Time to Floss?
Flossing in the evening before going to bed helps remove plaque and any trapped food particles from the meals and snacks you have consumed all day long. If you sleep with food particles caught in between the teeth, it can increase the amount of cavity-causing bacteria.
While it can seem difficult to change our dental habits and floss daily, doing so actually does matter. To get your teeth cleaned and find out the right way to floss, please feel free to contact Oasis Family Dental at (807) 623-2662 to schedule an appointment today!