The inspiration for this topic comes from my wonderful stepfather. While he has always had terrific dental hygiene, he did not understand a key reason flossing is so important. I was visiting “home” in South Louisiana this weekend where I was able to visit with many family and friends, attend a Garth Brook’s concert, and my best friend’s baby shower. The subject of flossing just happened to come up while my stepdad and I were chatting this weekend. Yes, I love to talk about teeth. He thought flossing was key to getting pieces of food out from between one’s teeth so that they wouldn’t cause cavities.
True, flossing is great for getting pieces of food out from between our teeth, but there are much smaller troublemakers in between our teeth that flossing removes as well. Cleaning between teeth is so important to making sure microscopic bacteria don’t have the opportunity to stick to your teeth and below your gums. When these bacteria become stuck to your teeth for any significant period of time they will begin to release acid that can break down your teeth causing cavities. Gum disease occurs when we let these bacteria stick in our mouths causing gum irritation and eventual bone loss. Brushing cannot get in between the teeth and prevent these bacteria from sticking so that is why floss is so important to knock those little pests away! We need to manually wipe away this layer of bacteria from every surface.
If you have any questions on the proper technique to floss please ask! Your dental team will be happy to make it clear using models etc. Flossing will make your regular cleaning appointments more comfortable as well. So, make sure you are brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and flossing once a day!
For more information visit: http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/f/flossing
Bethany McIver, DDS