If you’ve ever been to the dentist, you’ve probably heard a lecture or two on the importance of flossing. You might have rolled your eyes and thought, “what’s the big deal about flossing?” As it turns out, flossing is more important to overall health than most people realize.
Why Should I Floss?
Flossing is important to your dental health routine for several reasons, not the least of which is that flossing helps keep gums healthy. When your gums are not properly taken care of, it’s not just your smile that’s affected.
Gum disease is caused by the buildup of bacteria between your teeth. When this happens, the bones and tissue in your mouth can become eroded, leading to infection and tooth loss. And that’s not the only way your health is put at risk. Without proper flossing, bacteria can remain unchecked in your mouth. These harmful bacteria are inhaled directly into your lungs, where it can take root and form pneumonia. In extreme cases, chronic gum disease can even cause brain infections. Recently, scientists have discovered links between poor dental hygiene and diabetes, kidney disease, and even cancer.
Floss Like a Pro
Floss works by removing particles, bacteria, and plaque from between the teeth. Brushing alone isn’t enough to remove all the bacteria in your mouth. To keep your mouth healthy, a good oral health routine should feature daily brushing, at least twice a day for two minutes, and routine flossing.
It’s important when you’re flossing to keep the floss clean as it goes into your teeth. To do this, you should break off at least 18 inches of floss. Wind the majority of the floss around the middle finger of one hand, then do the same with the middle finger on your other hand, leaving a few inches of floss between the two fingers. Next, pinch the floss between your index finger and thumb on both hands. Now you’re ready to start flossing.
In order to protect your gums, you should always be gentle when using floss. Never force the floss between your teeth because it can snap into your gums and cause damage. Instead, guide the floss gently between your teeth in a rubbing motion. Once the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into the shape of a C with your fingers. To clean your tooth with it, slide the floss along your tooth, moving away from the gums. Wind the dirty part of the floss around your finger, keeping it clean as you move to the next tooth. Repeat until your whole mouth is clean. Don’t forget to floss the back of the last teeth in your mouth. When you’re finished, discard the used floss and never reuse the same piece of floss. Doing so could reintroduce harmful bacteria to your mouth.
When it comes to protecting your gums, and your health, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Flossing is an important step in every health care routine. Remember that a floss a day helps keep disease away.