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Why Flossing Is a Must, Not a Maybe

If you think that brushing your teeth twice a day is enough to keep your teeth and gums healthy, think again. Most dentists agree that daily brushing is only the first step. The only tool in your arsenal that is strong enough to eliminate plaque from in between the teeth and gums is a skinny strand of floss. Without it, your teeth and gums will be more at risk of developing decay, disease, and serious dental damage that all could have been prevented by the use of a strand of dental floss.

Plaque is the primary culprit behind swollen gums, tooth decay and gum disease. This invisible substance develops over the teeth and gums whenever you eat or drink. Full of bacteria that create acids, plaque attacks the delicate surface of the teeth and wears down the enamel. This causes serious issues with your teeth and gums. Fortunately, these problems can be prevented with just a few minutes of daily flossing.

Many researchers believe that there is a connection between periodontal disease and serious systemic diseases such as pneumonia, heart disease, diabetes and even obesity. The connection is thought to be caused by inflammation created by oral bacteria. A daily flossing regimen can assist in removing much of that bacteria, leading to a reduction in your risk of developing serious chronic health conditions.

While dentists agree that everyone should floss regardless of their age, there are some people who are more likely to develop tooth decay and periodontal disease due to conditions and medications that lead to lower saliva production. Since saliva cleans bacteria out of the mouth, having low levels of saliva means that harmful bacteria remain present for longer. If you have chronic dry mouth, talk to your dentist about what you can do to reduce your risk. You may need to brush and floss more frequently than the average person in order to keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible.

In order to fully benefit from flossing, you need to do it in the proper way. Proper flossing involves taking a lengthy piece of floss and taking it towards the base of your tooth. You then gently pull the floss along the sides of the tooth. This simple action removes particles and plaque from the crevices between your teeth. This action should be repeated with a fresh portion of dental floss for each tooth.

Why Children Should Floss Their Teeth

Flossing is an essential part of maintaining your child’s oral health. Consistent flossing helps clean teeth, battle plaque, improve breath and keep major dental care issues at bay. Flossing once a day is just as imperative as brushing the teeth twice a day. This means that you need to teach your child the habit of daily flossing. Once a child grows two adjoining teeth, he or she should be taught about the importance of flossing, as well as how to do it. The value of teaching your children this essential dental habit is priceless.

Tips to Get Children Flossing

  1. Make a Chart – Many children respond well to incentives and rewards. Create a chart that tracks daily flossing habits and have your child place a fun sticker on the chart every time he or she performs the habit. You can offer rewards such as going to the movies, staying up late or a new toy.
  2. Make It Fun and Games – Turn this essential dental care habit into a fun game by playing some music and having your child floss with the beat. Or tell an exciting adventure story about how to defeat bad bacteria via flossing. Making a habit fun to perform will make it easier to instill in your child.
  3. Use the Right Tools – Let’s face it, plain packs of dental floss are unappealing to most children. Utilizing a colorful floss stick could help encourage your child to floss on a regular basis. These tools are easy for children to hold too.
  4. Give Them Encouragement – Give your children lots of kudos whenever they floss. This will make it more likely that they will continue on with the habit. It will also create positive feelings about their new habit.
  5. Be the Teacher – The best way to teach your child is to model the behavior you desire. If you floss, your child is more likely to do so. Make flossing a family affair and you will all experience the benefits of this oral health gamechanger.

How to Floss Your Teeth Properly

The American Dental Hygienists Association has created this list of four steps that you can take to ensure that you are properly flossing:

  1. Wind – You will need around 18 inches of floss. Hold it between your thumbs and index fingers. Then, pull tightly in order to create a strand that is taut.
  2. Guide – Take your index fingers and use them to lead the floss in between the bottom and top of each of your teeth.
  3. Glide – Smoothly and gently glide the floss between your teeth.
  4. Slide – Carefully move the floss up and down across the tooth’s surface and underneath the gumline. Be sure that you use a fresh portion of dental floss for each tooth.

If you would rather hold a handle than the strand of floss, you may want to invest in a hand-held or electric flosser. The steps for flossing your teeth with one of these devices are similar to the advice given above.

Don’t allow the floss to become tangled in your braces or other dental work. Special floss threaders and orthodontic floss are designed to allow you to floss in smaller areas. Your dentist can help you learn how to use these tools. No matter what kind of floss you utilize, you need to be gentle in order to avoid causing damage to your teeth, gums or dental device.

Flossing every day is a healthy habit that you will want to maintain for a lifetime. If you’re interested in learning more flossing tips, contact our dental professionals at Maple Shade Dental Group.

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