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Why Flossing Is a Must, Not a Maybe

Six Reasons Why Flossing Is Important

Most of us know that brushing our teeth daily is an effective way to promote a healthier mouth, but what about flossing? Even if you are brushing your teeth twice a day, your mouth isn’t as healthy as it should be if you’re not flossing every day. In fact, it has been estimated that flossing does approximately 40% of the work needed to effectively remove sticky plaque and food particles from your teeth. By not performing this healthy habit daily, you are actively risking the health of your teeth and gums. Check out these six reasons why you should be flossing every day.

Flossing Reduces Plaque

Your toothbrush can only do so much when it comes to removing plaque, which is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on your teeth every day. Plaque develops on your teeth when the bacteria that are naturally in your mouth mix with foods and drinks containing sugar and starch. These bacteria produce acids that break down starch and sugar. If you do not practice good oral hygiene, the acids, starches, sugars, and bacteria mix together, forming a sticky film of plaque on your teeth and along the gum line.

Plaque buildup can harden and develop into tartar, a hardened, yellowish-brown substance that collects along the gum line. You can’t remove tartar on your own; only your dentist or dental hygienist can remove tartar with special dental tools. By flossing every day, you target the hard-to-reach areas where bacteria and plaque can collect.

Flossing Prevents Gingivitis

The earliest stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. It causes your gums to appear red and inflamed, and they may even bleed when brushing or flossing. The bacteria in tartar and plaque irritate your gum tissue, causing inflammation. Gingivitis can quickly progress to periodontitis. This is a serious infection that can result in tooth loss if not treated. Unfortunately, the later stages of gum disease are incurable and require extensive procedures to fix. By making sure that you floss every day, you can remove plaque, prevent the development of tartar, and avoid more serious issues.

Flossing Prevents Cavities

The acids that plaque creates are also damaging to your tooth enamel. Allowign those acids to attack your tooth enamel increases your risk of tooth decay and can also result in a cavity, which is a tiny hole or opening in your tooth enamel. Flossing regularly can remove the bacteria before it harms your teeth, preventing the formation of cavities.

Flossing Eliminates Bad Breath

Hidden food particles trapped between your teeth or along the gum line create bacteria, which creates an unpleasant odor in your mouth. By flossing daily, you can remove these food particles before they cause bad breath.

Flossing Can Improve Overall Health

Researchers believe that mouth bacteria and the inflammation caused by gum disease can play a role in the development of systemic disease. Diabetes, stroke, heart disease, respiratory diseases, and rheumatoid arthritis are just a few of the health problems linked to poor oral health. Flossing each day to maintain your gum health can reduce your risk of developing these serious conditions.

Flossing Can Help You Save Money on Dental Care

By reducing your risk of developing cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease, daily flossing can help you save money by preventing you from needing complex and expensive dental procedures in the future. One of the simplest and most inexpensive ways to improve your oral health is with regular flossing.

When Should Your Child Start Flossing?

Kids should start flossing as soon as they have two teeth that are close together. For most children, this happens between the ages of two and six. To ensure that your child has a healthy mouth, you should floss your child’s teeth until they are old enough to do it on their own.

Tips to Make Flossing Enjoyable for Kids

By encouraging flossing early, kids can learn a healthy habit that will keep their mouths healthy for a lifetime. There are many fun and creative ways to encourage your kids to floss every day. Try implementing some of these tips to get your kids into the habit of flossing:

  1. Be a role model: It’s common for kids to take an interest in what their parents do. If they see you flossing daily, your children are more likely to engage in this healthy activity. Better yet, make flossing an activity that the entire family performs at the same time so everyone can reap the healthy rewards.
  2. Make a flossing chart: Creating an interactive flossing chart can make flossing fun for children. Kids can track their flossing progress with brightly colored markers or stickers. When a specific goal is reached, you can provide a reward, such as going to the movies or staying up late.
  3. Provide a kid-friendly explanation: Explaining why flossing regularly is important can provide the motivation kids need. Try to show kid-friendly videos that demonstrate the importance of flossing.
  4. Turn flossing into a game: Flossing every day doesn’t have to be a boring activity! Try turning flossing into a storytelling activity involving destroying plaque and bacteria invaders or use music to turn flossing into a dance party. Creating fun games for flossing will make sure that your child looks forward to flossing every night.

How to Floss Your Teeth Correctly

Follow these steps to ensure that you are flossing correctly:

  1. Begin by cutting a piece of floss that is at least 18 inches in length.
  2. Wrap the floss around the middle fingers on each hand.
  3. Using your index fingers, gently slide the floss between each tooth.
  4. Wrap the floss around each tooth to clean along the gum line.
  5. Move the floss in a downward motion to remove plaque and particles of food.
  6. Repeat this process for each tooth, making sure to use a clean section of floss for every tooth.
  7. Don’t forget to floss your back teeth.

Flossing every day is a healthy habit that can greatly improve the health of your teeth and gums. If you have any questions about your dental health or if you’d like to improve your flossing technique, please call our office to schedule an appointment with our dentists. Our professional team is happy to provide tips on how to floss your teeth effectively.

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Rye Smiles for Life

10614 Warwick Avenue, Ste A, Fairfax, VA 22030

(703) 565-2503