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What are the Benefits of Flossing?


The blog post “What Are the Benefits of Flossing?” by West Broad Dental discusses the important role that flossing plays in maintaining good oral hygiene. It explains that while brushing cleans the surface of your teeth, flossing effectively removes plaque and food particles from tight spaces between teeth that a toothbrush cannot reach. This prevents bad breath, tartar buildup, and gum disease. The article also highlights the different types of dental floss available, such as traditional string floss, water flossers, and dental picks. Additionally, it outlines best practices for flossing, including the importance of flossing daily and the correct technique to avoid gum irritation. Regular flossing, along with twice-daily brushing and routine dental cleanings, forms the cornerstone of a good dental hygiene routine.

What Is Dental Floss?

Dental floss consists of extremely thin pieces of string that are wrapped around a spool, typically available in waxed or unwaxed varieties, that you move between your teeth to dislodge small pieces of plaque and food particles that can’t be easily removed with brushing alone. However, if you find it difficult to maneuver traditional string floss, you can try alternatives such as water flossers or dental picks (floss that’s pre-loaded onto a small plastic handle).

Why Brushing Alone Isn’t Enough

While brushing your teeth is a great way to clean the surface, flossing gets in between tight spaces where toothbrush bristles can’t reach and removes debris while it is still soft. Most dentists recommend daily flossing along with twice-daily brushing. While flossing any time of day is beneficial, many dentists suggest flossing at night before bed, as bacteria can increase at night while you sleep. If you haven’t flossed in a while, you may experience some light bleeding while flossing until you get into a regular routine. However, heavier bleeding that continues past a few weeks could be a sign of gingivitis, so it’s best to see a dentist if you suspect this may be the case.

Flossing Prevents Bad Breath

If you feel like skipping flossing before brushing, think about this: Flossing prevents the onset of halitosis, or bad breath, by dislodging trapped food particles that cause unpleasant odors. Bad breath can be off-putting, so taking the time to floss is worth it to prevent a potentially embarrassing situation.

Flossing Prevents Tartar Buildup

If plaque isn’t removed from between the teeth, it can harden and become tartar. Tartar buildup leads to major dental issues, such as cavities and gingivitis, and it can even turn teeth yellow. Flossing removes tartar along with other debris that gets caught in between the teeth.

Flossing Prevents Gum Disease

Flossing isn’t just good for your teeth; it also helps keep gums healthy. If debris is not removed from along your gum line, it can cause your gums to become inflamed and irritated. Plaque buildup can eat away at the soft tissue of your gums and cause gum disease (also known as periodontitis). If left untreated, it can cause serious problems, such as decay and gum tissue erosion. Loss of gum tissue is permanent, so it’s a good idea to take care of your gums by regularly flossing and brushing.

Flossing is Part of a Good Dental Hygiene Routine

Flossing should be part of your dental hygiene routine, which should also include limiting sugary food and drink, regular brushing, and twice-yearly dental cleanings. Floss before brushing so that your toothbrush can easily clean away any leftover debris. Flossing is most effective when done every day, so try to make it a daily habit or set a reminder alarm for yourself until it becomes routine.

When flossing, you need to slowly move the floss up and down and gently touch the gum area. Make sure you’re flossing correctly and not roughly scraping your gums or going too far down, which could cause irritation. Don’t forget to reach and floss your back teeth; these need attention as they are very common spots for cavities to develop. If you have kids, it’s a good idea to speak to their dentist about starting a flossing routine early as a preventative measure.

Additional Information on Flossing

In recent years, advancements in dental care have introduced innovative tools that make flossing more accessible and effective for a broader range of individuals. For instance, water flossers, which use a stream of pulsating water to remove plaque and food particles, have gained popularity, especially among those with braces or dental implants. Studies have shown that water flossers can be just as effective as traditional flossing in reducing plaque and gingivitis. Additionally, flavored dental floss and biodegradable options are now available, addressing both personal preferences and environmental concerns. Integrating these advanced flossing tools into your daily routine can enhance your oral hygiene practice, making it easier and more enjoyable to maintain healthy teeth and gums.

Call Us Today for a Personalized Dental Experience 

While flossing is a great way to prevent serious dental issues and care for your gums, it’s important to also regularly visit a dentist for oral maintenance and teeth cleanings.

At West Broad Dental in Falls Church, we can give you the personalized attention you deserve and make sure you’re flossing the right way. Our comfortable environment and convenient location make visiting the dentist a positive experience. Contact us today to speak to a dental professional that cares about your oral health.

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