Is flossing really worth it? It’s a question we get asked all the time by our patients, and it’s a very valid one.
Flossing is essential for removing bits of food that inevitably get stuck in between your teeth after meals and snacking. A proper oral care routine should involve brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Flossing your teeth with dental floss or interdental brushes will also help to prevent yellow staining from occurring in between your teeth.
Some of the points we will address in this blog include:
As dentists, we understand that it can feel like an inconvenience to floss. It’s also not the most exciting activity out there and for individuals with limited dexterity, it can be really hard to manoeuvre the floss around your mouth. This said, it should be one of your bread-and-butter activities each day, and if you do struggle to work floss around your mouth and in between your teeth, there are ways this can be done more efficiently (we’ll come back to this later in the blog).
Failing to remove small food particles from between your teeth will leave behind plaque along your gum line. Plaque is ridden with bacteria that inflame your gums, causing them to bleed and become sore.
Once plaque has settled, it turns into a harder and more threatening substance called tartar. This substance will eventually begin to eat away at your protective tooth enamel armour and begin to erode your gums. In extreme cases of tartar build up, teeth will start to become loose and the jaw bone can also suffer from recession, as periodontal disease starts to take a real grip of your oral health.
Some foods are worse for others at getting lodged in between your teeth (and some will cause more complications than others too). Steak and game can be notoriously difficult to remove due to their shredded texture, whilst fruits such as peaches can also pose the same challenge, getting stuck in between your incisors. Bread such as bagels and baguettes are also problematic (especially for molars) and as they’re often so high in sugar, failing to remove them will cause plaque accumulation really quickly unless residual particles are quickly removed.
Plaque staining isn’t a great look for your teeth. It’s a brown sticky substance that disrupts the white and even colouration of your teeth. When it builds up in between your teeth, it causes pockets of dark staining and yellowing. Once this type of staining has occurred, you will need to see a hygienist to have the staining removed. If yellowing has occurred, only treatment like teeth whitening will improve the shade of your teeth.
Regular flossing and regular brushing will ensure you have a beautiful smile you can feel proud of.
Choosing the right type of floss for your needs will optimise its usage.
If you have wide gaps in between your teeth, dental tape or super floss is recommended as it covers more surface area than standard floss. Meanwhile, for small gapped teeth, ribbon floss is more suitable as it’s capable of sliding into small spaces, working to clean interdental tooth surfaces too.
If you have limited dexterity, interdental brushes require very hand movement to remove food particles. Your dentist here at Innovadent will let you know which floss best suits your needs and will show you how to employ the correct technique.
The short answer is yes, though this is a question with multifaceted points. Failing to floss is one of multiple forms of oral hygiene neglect that could go on to cause the advanced form of gum disease; periodontal disease.
The risky mix of failing to floss, brushing poorly, and eating a diet full of sugar and acids will accelerate the speed at which your gums start to deteriorate. It’s difficult to qualify whether not flossing on its own can lead to advanced gum disease, though what we can offer as a certainty is that having other bad oral hygiene habits alongside this will only be bad news for your mouth.
Once gum disease has caused a certain degree of damage to your mouth, health problems such as heart disease can occur. Plaque can enter the bloodstream and enter the heart, threatening heart valves. In the most severe cases, this can lead to heart disease. Periodontal disease increases the body’s inflammatory response, which is when immune cells attack microbial threats to your health. Whilst this may sound like a good thing that your body is fighting back, long-term continual attacks can lead to chronic inflammation. Left untreated, inflammation can also lead to diabetes and even neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s. This risk can be lessened by simply flossing at least once a day. This will help your gums recover from inflammation and reduce your chance of developing cavities and gum disease.
Keep your teeth and gums safe by attending regular routine cleanings with the hygienist. Your hygienist can also highlight further benefits of flossing and make a plan that will help to reduce symptoms such as bleeding gums and tooth decay.Back to Blog
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