How Important Is Flossing?
In one word...very! Flossing not only cleans areas of the teeth where
ordinary toothbrushes can't reach, it is a key factor in preventing gum
disease. Brushing is an excellent beginning, but flossing is a crucial
factor when it comes to keeping healthy teeth. The bacterium that gets
caught in the nooks and crannies between teeth and in the tight spaces that
toothbrushes can't reach is removed by flossing.
Bacteria, if not removed regularly, may cause a host of problems in a person's mouth. For instance, a byproduct of the bacteria is acid; this
acid eats into the enamel of otherwise teeth and creates cavities. Another byproduct of the bacteria is a sulfur compound which causes halitosis.
Remnants of food, combined with remaining bacteria turns into plaque.
Plaque, left hanging around between the teeth will become a stronger more
toothbrush resistant substance called tarter. Tarter is not removed by
normal brushing. Tarter remover requires the professional services of a
Tarter left alone allows the bacteria to breed and cause a more serous condition called gingivitis. Gingivitis occurs when the bacteria emits
toxins that irritate the gums and causes redness and swelling. Left alone,
it worsens and causes periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease occurs when the bacteria have been allowed to manifest
and invade not only the gums, but also the bones. This is dangerous because the bones are the very support structure that holds teeth in place. Left untreated, teeth will fall out.
I Haven't Flossed In A While. What Should I Expect?
If you haven't flossed in quite a while, there is a possibility that you may see a hint of blood on the floss and in your mouth. This means that your gums are somewhat irritated and are really in need of flossing. Don't give up. Keep flossing. Over a period of time, with regular flossing and
brushing, the red should diminish and eventually go away. If it does not,
pay a visit to your dentist.
How Often Should I floss?
According to the American Dental Association, you should brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and floss at least once a day.
What About My Children? When Should They Start Flossing?
The minute two teeth are able to rub together, thus creating a condition
whereby food and bacteria can hide and grow, start flossing. Of course when
they are young, they will require parental guidance. Continue to do so
until you feel comfortable that your child can properly floss unaided.
How Do I Floss?
1.) Use about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around the middle
finger of one hand and the rest around the middle finger of the other hand.
2.) Gently guide the floss between your teeth with a rubbing motion.
3.) Once the floss nears your gum line curve the floss against one tooth in a 'C' shape. Slide it gently in the space between you tooth and gum.
4.) While keeping the floss against the tooth, gently, with an up and down motion, move the floss away from the gum.
5.) Repeat as needed.
6.) Remember to floss between all of your teeth, even the hard to reach ones in the back of your mouth. Also floss the back of the last teeth.
7.) Remember this is a gentle motion. Do not use a frontward, backward
sawing motion. That can cause injury and prove to be painful.
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