Next to twice-daily brushing, regular flossing is one of the most important steps you can take to protect your smile. Specifically, when you do not floss every day, you increase your chances of developing costly and uncomfortable oral health problems—including tooth decay and gum disease. To help shed more light on this oral hygiene practice, here are a few facts your dentist likely wants you to know.
How Does Flossing Prevent Oral Health Problems?
The bristles of toothbrushes only reach the visible surfaces of teeth and gums; however, plaque and food debris hide in the tight spaces between them. If not cleaned, this build-up will gradually wear away at teeth and gum tissue, increasing the likelihood of cavities, infection, and gum disease. When used correctly, dental floss removes debris in hard-to-reach spaces and provides a more complete clean.
What is the Best Way to Floss?
With practice, you can easily develop a proper technique. To start, cut a piece of the thread about 18 inches in length. Next, wrap the string around your middle or index fingers on both hands, leaving a few inches of floss in between each finger.
Hold the string tight and wrap it around the inside edge of the tooth. Firmly shift the floss back-and-forth in a zigzag motion from the top of the tooth toward the gum line. Make sure that the floss cleans under the tissue where the tooth and gum connect. Repeat this process for every tooth, using a clean section of the thread.
Are There Any Alternatives to Traditional Floss?
If standard dental floss doesn’t work for you, speak with a dentist about possible alternatives and how to use them correctly. They may recommend waxed floss, for example, if the string tends to shred between teeth. Floss picks and threaders help those who have trouble holding the thread. Some dentists may also suggest a water flosser—a device that uses water pressure to clean tough-to-reach spots.
When you want to protect and enhance your smile, turn to the team at Main Street Dental. Providing preventive dentistry services in La Crosse, WI, this practice will defend your mouth against decay, gum disease, and other oral health problems through routine teeth cleaning and oral exams. Their dentists prioritize patient comfort and will help you explore the best brushing and flossing products for your needs. To learn more about their services, visit the dental clinic online. For appointments, call a friendly staff member at (608) 784-4063.