Add flossing to your daily dental routine to clean those stubborn spots your brush won’t reach and you’ll experience a cleaner, healthier smile. Most people either forget about flossing or consider it a low-priority because they’re unaware of the importance or are unsure how to do it correctly. The truth is, flossing helps clean the gaps between your teeth so that you’re less likely to get gum infections or cavities from bacteria build-up. And as your overall dental health improves, you’ll start saving money while you avoid large dental bills from expensive procedures.
What is Dental Floss?
Dental floss is a tool you should use daily to remove food and bacteria build-up from in-between your teeth. Floss is commonly made out of plastic or nylon; it is a thin thread that you put between your teeth and pull in order to clean the gaps. As you pull on the thread, food and debris should come out of the gaps.
Types of Dental Floss
You’ll have a surprising number of types to choose from when picking out dental floss. You can get most types of floss at your local supermarket or drugstore. Although all use some type of thread or ribbon, there are differences in materials and packaging.
Some floss is made out of dental ribbon rather than out of plastic or nylon string. Ribbon floss is smoother and more comfortable than traditional floss. For example, if your gums ache or bleed when you floss your teeth, you might want to try ribbon floss instead.
There are also automatic flossers that you can try if you have a hard time perfecting your flossing technique or find flossing uncomfortable. Automatic flossers use a nylon filament to floss your teeth for you. When you turn the flosser on and touch it against your teeth, it cleans the gaps between your teeth for you.
Benefits of Using Dental Floss
Brushing alone doesn’t clean your entire mouth; it only cleans the surface of your teeth. You need to floss in order to clean out the gaps between your teeth, where bacteria often reside. If you don’t floss, you’re more likely to have plaque build-up, which can lead to cavities, tooth decay and gum disease. If left untreated, gum disease can be a risk factor for heart disease, diabetes and a high body mass index. In addition, bacteria can cause bad breath and having food or debris between your teeth can make them look less clean or white. Thus, flossing can help improve the appearance of your mouth as well as your dental hygiene and overall health.
How Often Should You Floss?
It’s more important to take your time and floss correctly than it is to floss often. If you floss several times a day but do it quickly, you’ll miss a lot of the bacteria and debris you need to clean out. This defeats the purpose of flossing. It’s far better to floss only once a day and do it slowly so that you clean your entire mouth.
Of course, it’s still important to floss regularly; if you don’t floss at least once a day, you won’t get all the health benefits.