The Importance Of Dental Flossing

Dental Health Advice

Dental flossing can be extremely beneficial to most, helping improve both teeth and gum health. However, ensuring you have the proper technique is vital to maximise the results you see, and for those who haven’t flossed before, it may be difficult to know where to start. In this article, we will cover where to start, the dos and don’ts, and the overall benefits of dental flossing.

The act of flossing

Dental flossing is well-known in the dental industry and is an effective way for people to clean their teeth. It’s commonly recommended that from the age of 12, people use this as a way of removing plaque, and is a great way to reduce the risk of gum disease.

What is dental flossing?

Dental flossing is the act of using a soft, thin thread with a combined action of gently scraping the tooth in a vertical motion. Sometimes, if the standard dental floss is too thin, it is also recommended to use dental tape, which is slightly thicker. 

Not only is this simple action used to prevent plaque, along with reducing the risk of gum disease, but it also reduces the risk of cavities and bad breath.

How to use dental floss

The NHS website features some useful tips regarding dental flossing, ensuring it’s used as properly and efficiently as possible. The main points include:

  • When dental flossing, use about 45cm of floss and wrap the floss around a finger on each hand, ensuring you’ve got good tension.
  • Hold the dental floss tightly between your fingers, leaving about 2.5cm, which will be used.
  • Gently rock the floss between your teeth, ensuring you’re careful of your gums. 
  • Once the floss reaches the bottom of your tooth, curve it into a C against the tooth you’re looking to clean.
  • Carefully scrape the side of the tooth with the dental floss, moving away from the gum. Repeat the previous steps for the other tooth within the same gap.
  • Generally, it’s best practice to start from one side of your mouth to the other, ensuring not to miss any gaps or teeth along the way.

If you’re new to dental flossing, you might notice your gums could start to bleed. There’s nothing to worry about if this starts to happen, as this is primarily due to your gums being tender. Carry on flossing your teeth as instructed by your dentist, and in time, the bleeding should start to slow and stop.

Top 5 benefits of flossing

Oral hygiene is important in the prevention of gum disease. Highlighting the importance of taking care of your teeth and gums in not only reducing unwanted issues but also ensuring your teeth and gums stay healthier for longer.

  1. Gum disease prevention

This benefit is one of the main reasons we recommend using dental floss. To get the best results and avoid any risk of gum disease, prevention is best to start as early as possible.

  1. Reduces risk of cavities

Tooth decay can result in cavities, which are small openings or holes in the hard outer surface of the tooth. Dental flossing can be a leading way of preventing possible cavities.

  1. Reduces bad breath

Bad breath is something that many have to deal with, so ensuring you’re cleaning between your teeth can be a large improvement to not only tooth health but overall breath/mouth scent. 

We also recommend using mouthwash in these cases.

  1. Removes plaque

Clearing and preventing plaque improves both tooth and gum health, and not using dental floss and brushing often is the main cause for plaque to build up and harden.

Plaque is a colourless film coating, typically built up around your teeth and gum line, and forms when bacteria in your mouth mix with starchy or sugary foods and drinks. The bacteria release acids that break down carbohydrates.

  1. Reduces risk of heart disease

Gum disease can lead to possible heart disease. So prevention of this is a must. 

A study carried out in 2014 concluded that people who had received adequate care for their gum disease had cardiovascular care costs that were 10 to 40 percent lower than people who didn’t get proper oral care. By no means is this guaranteed chance, but it does show that oral care for initial reasons, which may seem small, often leads to possible larger issues in the long run.

How often should you floss?

To properly prevent plaque buildup and avoid gum disease, it is recommended that you floss at least once a day, taking your time to ensure you get all the hard-to-reach plaque, bacteria, and excess food. 

Furthermore, flossing before brushing your teeth is the preferred method, however, dental flossing at any time is definitely more beneficial than missing it altogether.

Do you have dental problems you’d like resolved?

Dental issues won’t go unnoticed in most cases. If you need some assistance inside or outside of normal visiting hours, feel free to get in touch with your nearest 24/7 Dentist location. We have practices across the UK ensuring we can help as many people get the treatment and care they deserve and need.

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