Most of us realize that flossing is an important part of our dental care and yet it is often overlooked. One of the things that your dentist will ask you with every dental exam is “are you flossing?”
The answer, too frequently, is a sheepish “not as much as I should,” as we sit in the dentist’s chair, our irritated gums bleeding.
Why Flossing is Important
Many people dislike flossing. Some assume that brushing is enough, despite what their dentist says. Some others don’t like the feeling of the floss moving between their teeth, especially if their teeth are tight.
Unfortunately, brushing alone won’t get your teeth properly cleaned. Your brush can only clean where it reaches and that does not include the spaces between teeth. Two sides of your teeth are remarkably close to neighbouring teeth, making tight spaces that are perfect for trapping food. This in turn allows for a buildup of bacteria that will irritate gums and, if left untreated, may lead to gingivitis.
In addition to the irritation this bacteria causes your gums, it also works to destroy your tooth’s enamel, creating cavities and leads to an unhealthy mouth which might cause other issues. Gingivitis, for example, may enter the bloodstream to spread throughout the body, potentially resulting in heart disease and respiratory illness.
Extending your dental care routine by a few moments each day is a small price to pay for the numerous benefits to be obtained by flossing, not only for your teeth and gums, but your overall health as well.
Kids and Flossing
Flossing regularly is important for everyone. While there is a tendency for some to think it is less important for children since they will be losing their baby teeth in time, kids should start flossing as soon as their teeth are close enough together for bacteria to start building up. This will help them develop habits that can last a lifetime.
You will likely have to assist them for a time, but as they get older and develop their motor skills, they will begin to be more independent. Use soft floss to avoid hurting their gums. Flavoured floss is also typically popular with kids. You may even want to let them choose their own so that they will be more involved in the entire process.
Younger kids may be encouraged to floss knowing that it can help prevent cavities and make their visits to the dentists easier, while older kids might appreciate the fact that flossing can help eliminate bad breath.
Which Comes First, Flossing or Brushing?
While some may prefer to brush before flossing, studies have shown that starting with flossing followed by brushing has several benefits. Not only does it allow for more plaque to be removed, but it also helps prevent tooth decay by allowing more fluoride from your toothpaste to reach every part of the tooth, strengthening the enamel.
Flossing should always be a part of your daily dental care routine. It may be uncomfortable or awkward at first, but you will soon get the hang of it and after a time, you will feel as though your mouth is less clean when you forget to do it.
For more information on the benefits of flossing, or how to encourage your kids to floss, contact us today!