While it is easy for one to forget to brush his/her teeth every day, you don’t want to skip flossing. Just because you brushed your teeth doesn’t mean you shouldn’t floss either. Flossing plays a crucial role in removing foot particles in hard-to-reach areas and crevices, areas the bristles of a regular toothbrush wouldn’t reach. Going for days without flossing (even after brushing) enables bacteria to floss in these crevices, leaving you vulnerable to dental plague. That said, it would be wise to complement brushing with flossing to help get rid of all those food particles and possible bacteria. Doing so helps stop/prevent bad breath, dental cavities, tartar build-up, or the need for dental implants.
Flossing regularly reduces the risk of plaque hardening into tartar. According to the American Dental Association, flossing every day holds the key to improved dental and oral health. You can thus choose to floss in the morning or before retiring to bed, as well as before or after brushing. There isn’t a specific order on how or when you should floss as long as you do it every day.
However, pulling the floss up and down the teeth isn’t enough to remove all the food particles and plaque. Dental experts recommend curving the floss to cover the tooth’s curvature, allowing it to scrape the plaque off. Outlined below are a few but simple steps (provided for by the American Dental Association) for proper flossing:
1. Break 18 inches of floss, then wind one end around your finger and the other on the same finger of the other hand.
2. Next, hold the floss between your forefingers and thumbs, then guide it between your teeth in a gentle rubbing motion. Be careful not to floss into your gums as this might cause bleeding- and hurt.
3. Curve the floss into a C-shape just a few millimetres to the gums, then slide it into the space between the tooth and the gum.
4. Holding the floss firmly against the tooth, run the side of the tooth in up and down motions. Repeat this on the rest of the teeth until all are clean.
While forgetting to floss might not be life-endangering, your teeth will most definitely suffer from your habits. Brushing your teeth every day may help remove sugars and bacteria from the teeth’ surface but will never remove the same from in-between teeth.
A healthy tooth is 5-sided: the front, back, top, and the other two sides. Even the best toothbrush can only access the three exposed surfaces and struggle to reach the two sides’ surface between each tooth. Only the floss can reach the sides and clean them effectively, leaving no food or bacterial build-up.
Plague can be defined as the sticky film clinging on the surfaces of your teeth. This film is mainly made of food residue and bacteria. It is also the culprit for bad breath and almost always becomes acidic – eroding the enamel. When ignored, plague can easily harden, forming tartar, a black hard material. Tartar is a lot harder to remove at home as compared to the plague itself. A dentist would have to use a special tool to break it off your teeth safely. It would thus be advisable to see a certified dentist should you see tartar creeping on your enamel. The dentist will also advise you to brush and floss regularly, and even show you how to do it correctly. From the facts outlined above, it is evident that flossing is more important than brushing, though the two go hand in hand.