Did you know that flossing does about 40% of the work to remove bacteria and plaque from your teeth?*
Every time you visit the dentist office, one of the first questions you’re asked is, “how often do you floss?” Either you're someone who flosses all the time and has an honest answer, or you're someone who responds with the generic, “at least a few times a week,” when in actuality you don’t really know how often you floss. If that’s you, it’s ok to admit; no one will shame you for it. Whether you do floss regularly or not, take note: flossing is an essential part of your routine although it might not provide instant gratification.
An irrefutable reason we all reach for the floss is when we have little particles stuck in our teeth, and our toothbrush just isn’t doing the trick. Flossing daily is the only way to get in between the small crevices of the teeth to help remove bacteria as well as plaque and tartar while it’s still sticky and before it has time to build. The need for flossing goes beyond cleaning; it helps prevent disease and aids in your overall oral care.
Gingivitis, or the buildup of tartar under the gums causing them to swell, can be minimized or even prevented by flossing. If this starts to happen, call and make a dentist appointment--gingivitis is the first sign of gum disease. Just like any other disease, without treatment, gum disease only gets worse. The disease starts by eating away at your gums and teeth and can become severe enough to attack the bone.
Another common misconception about flossing is that just using floss in an up and down movement does the trick. Proper use would include moving the floss in a “C” shaped motion along the ridge of each tooth making sure to get just under the gums where the unseeable build-up happens. Don’t worry about a little blood; it can occur if you have sensitive gums. If bleeding happens every time you floss, it might be a sign of periodontal disease so it would be worth mentioning to your dentist.
After reading all of this, don’t be paranoid that you may have a serious issue because you haven’t been flossing on a regular schedule. The best thing you can do is start making it part of your routine. Remember, good oral care only helps promote good overall health care.
*Oral Care, WebMD