Daily Flossing for a Healthy Mouth Leads to a Healthier Body!

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We recommend that you brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day, and floss daily.  If you are brushing your teeth, but not flossing between them, you are missing out on a simple way to keep your whole body healthier. Removing the plaque in your mouth with your toothbrush and floss lowers your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. A toothbrush does not reach between teeth to clean dental plaque. Only flossing can clean between teeth and below the gum line to remove the harmful bacteria that accumulates where your brush cannot reach.

Dental Plaque

Plaque is the sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth and gums. It is harmful bacteria that causes cavities, gingivitis (inflamed, bleeding and receding gums) and periodontitis. There are five surfaces of each tooth that need to be cleaned daily.  The toothbrush only cleans three out of five tooth surfaces.  Brushing and flossing work together to clean all tooth surfaces, and flossing is the only way to scrape plaque away from the sides of teeth where the brush misses.

Bacterial Infection

Any infection in your mouth, (your teeth, gums, cheeks and tongue) can spread to your bloodstream and affect the organs in your entire body which can potentially lead to diabetes, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, arthritis and Alzheimer’s.

Flossing daily will be a key part of your regular routine for a healthy body and smile. It only takes a minute!  Flossing takes very little time to effectively clean between each tooth.  Find a flossing tool that you like, and use it every day. Continue reading to find some flossing tips to help you make the most out of your flossing efforts.

Flossing with Dental Floss

To floss with floss on your fingers, use about 18 to 24 inches of floss and wind it around your middle finger on both hands. Hold about 1 to 2 inches of the floss taut between your thumbs and your index fingers, and slide the floss carefully between each tooth. Be gentle while flossing to keep from cutting your gums with the floss. Wrap the floss around the side of each tooth in a “C” shape to get as much surface area covered on the side of the tooth as possible. Slide the floss carefully below the gum until it stops at the bottom of the pocket while being careful not to cut the gum.  Scrape the side of each tooth with the floss a few times before moving on to the next tooth.

Flossing Options

If you find that you just can’t make your fingers fit in your mouth to floss with dental floss or if you think it is just not for you, there are other flossing options to choose from!  Floss picks work well as long as you are sure to scrape the sides of each tooth with the floss on the pick.  A long-handled flosser like the Ultraclean Access Flosser is helpful to reach the back teeth.

Who Should Floss?

Anyone who has teeth should floss! Children should have an adult floss their teeth until they are old enough to do it themselves. People who have abnormally tight spaces in between their teeth or who have dental implants, bridges, crowns, dentures or dental veneers should be especially diligent with their daily flossing in order to protect that investment. Anyone who has orthodontics, whether it is traditional braces or Invisalign®, should be diligent with daily flossing so that there are no dental problems after the braces are removed.  Ask us to show you how to clean around whatever dental appliances you might have to keep them healthy and disease-free.

When to Floss

Ideally, it is best to floss before you go to sleep at night.  If you are not good about flossing right before bed, then consider flossing after dinner when you are finished eating for the day.

The American Dental Association encourages everyone to floss at least once a day and brush twice a day. We hope that the flossing tips that we have shared here will help you.  Feel free to ask for more guidance when you are at the office for your routine dental visit.  We look forward to helping you take care of your oral health so that you ultimately have better overall health!

What else can be used to clean teeth?

Although effective brushing and flossing is the most important thing you can do to prevent oral diseases, many people benefit from adding other products.  These products do NOT take the place of flossing and should be used along with brushing twice a day and flossing once a day.

  • Proxy brushes are small interdental brushes that clean between your teeth. They are nice to use in an area that has a larger space between teeth. They are good for removing plaque and debris from around teeth and other appliances like permanent bridges or implants.  They can be especially helpful for people who have limited mobility in their hands and fingers due to injury or arthritis.
  • Pointed rubber tips are great for removing plaque and stimulating gum tissue that is inflamed.
  • Soft picks are great to carry with you to use when you are away from home and need something to remove food or debris from between your teeth after eating out.
  • Water irrigators that shoot a thin, pressurized stream of water between your teeth and at the gum line to remove debris and massage the gum tissue. Although they are sometimes advertised as water flossers, they cannot replace flossing.

Dr. Frank Prezioso and Dr. Robert Denmark are here to help you create your best smile! We welcome you to call our team at 215-493-9325 to schedule a consultation in Yardley, PA today!