As dentists, we are used to hearing certain… well, lies from our patients. It’s just human nature; people tend to downplay their bad habits (e.g., how often they smoke or drink soda) and try to make themselves appear healthier than they really are.
The biggest lie we hear: “I floss every day.”
While it would be wonderful if everyone was flossing regularly, we know that’s simply not the truth. In fact, according to a report from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, about 32% of Americans say they never floss at all!
With so many people failing to floss, you might wonder if this oral care step is even necessary. After all, lots of people don’t do it, and their teeth are fine! Today, let’s talk about why flossing really matters and how to do it properly.
The Benefits of Flossing
Like all parts of your oral care routine, flossing plays an important role in keeping your mouth clean and beautiful. However, it also can have a major impact on your overall health! Here are just a few reasons why we think you need to floss regularly:
It Protects Your Gums
When you brush your teeth, your brush scrubs away plaque, food, and bacteria that has settled on your enamel. This is an effective way to prevent cavities and tooth decay… but what about the gunk that your tooth can’t reach? The tight spaces between your teeth and along your gumlines are just as vulnerable to decay and disease, so you need something small – like a piece of floss – to clean them, too.
It Freshens Your Breath
You may think that your morning coffee or tuna fish lunch is the only thing causing bad breath. However, that’s just not true! The greatest culprit behind bad breath is tartar, the crusty mineral that develops when plaque sits in your mouth unremoved. If you remove this tartar by flossing, your breath will instantly improve!
It Can Prevent Heart Disease
This may sound odd but bear with us a moment. When a person suffers from gingivitis or other gum disease, bacteria from their mouth has a chance to enter the bloodstream. Once this happens, the bacteria can attack other organs, and can even result in heart disease or blood clots. If you prevent gum disease through flossing, you’re ultimately doing your heart a favor.
How to Floss
As you can see, flossing is an important part of both your oral health and your overall wellness. Now is the perfect time to start making it a daily habit! But how do you floss correctly? Here are a few tips:
Get a LONG Piece
It might feel silly to pull a huge piece of floss from the box, but it’s actually the key to flossing correctly. You want to have a “fresh” piece for each tooth, so make sure you have enough floss to do your entire mouth! Ideally, grab an 18-inch piece of floss.
Slide the Floss Between Your Teeth
Flossing seems pretty self-explanatory: just stick the floss between your teeth and you’re good! However, it is important to make sure you’re cleaning every inch of each tooth, so there’s a little more to it than that. Gently slide the floss up the sides of each tooth (make a C shape with the floss to ensure it hugs the tooth tightly) and get under the gum lines. This will ensure your teeth are totally clean!
See Your Dentist Today
Whether you’re a regular flosser or a newbie, visiting your dentist will help ensure your teeth are as clean as they can possibly be. Call to schedule a cleaning with Olympia Fields Dental Associates today!