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Why Flossing Is a Must, Not a Maybe

We’ve all been told that to have good dental health, we must brush our teeth at least twice daily, and that’s certainly true. However, brushing isn’t enough. You also need to floss your teeth at least once daily to maintain the best dental health. Surprisingly, according to many dentists, flossing once is the equivalent of brushing twice. This doesn’t mean that you can get by with only flossing – you still need to brush your teeth. The American Dental Association recommends that you brush at least twice each day for two minutes each time. It doesn’t matter whether you floss before you brush or afterward as long as you brush and floss.

After you eat or drink foods that contain sugar or carbohydrates, a sticky film attaches to your teeth and begins to erode the enamel on your teeth. It also begins to cause inflammation in your gums. Gum inflammation can lead to periodontal disease, which can destroy your jawbone and your gum tissue and eventually cause you to lose your teeth. Food particles that aren’t removed by brushing and flossing can contribute to cavities and decay, which will be exacerbated by the bacterial residue in the plaque. Amazingly, this can all be avoided by using a strand of dental floss each day.

Although flossing is beneficial for your gums and teeth, it provides overall health benefits for your body as well. Research has shown a correlation between poor dental hygiene and various diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and pneumonia, among others. When you remove the food particles that cause inflammation, decay, and cavities, you reduce the likelihood of developing serious health conditions.

Those who are more vulnerable to gum disease and tooth decay need to pay particular attention to their brushing and flossing routine. Some health conditions can cause a dry mouth, which can contribute to the onset of decay and disease because the saliva helps to continually cleanse the mouth. When there’s less saliva, there’s less protection. If you have a dry mouth, talk to your dentist about solutions for preventing the onset of cavities and gum disease.

Although you now know the importance of flossing, you need to know the right way to do it. Use about 18 inches of dental floss – you may opt to wrap it around an index finger on each end – slip it between two of your teeth, and pull it in and out, and then up and down, to remove all the food particles. Use a gentle motion and a fresh area of floss for each tooth. This will ensure that you’ve removed as many food particles as possible. Rinse your mouth after flossing.

Your Kids’ Teeth Need Flossing Too!

Teaching your child to floss may be a challenge, but the earlier you start the process, the greater the likelihood of success. Flossing is as essential for children as it is for adults, even though they may still have their primary teeth. When your child learns to floss at an early age, they’ll develop good oral hygiene habits that will benefit them for a lifetime. When your child has two teeth that abut, it’s time to start teaching them to floss. Making flossing fun is the easiest way to introduce the benefits of the habit.

Five Fun Ways to Get Kids Motivated to Floss

When children have fun learning a procedure, they’re more likely to maintain it. Consider the following when teaching your child to floss.

  1. Chart their progress: Make a flossing chart and hang it on the bathroom wall. Add a colorful sticker each time the child flosses, then provide an incentive for a certain number of consecutive days of flossing. The incentive can be as simple as a favorite food or staying up late one night.
  2. It’s all fun and games: Make flossing time party time by dancing to a lively song, telling an exciting story, or making it an adventure.
  3. Tools of the trade: Use kid-friendly flossing tools such as fluorescent floss sticks, smaller flossers, or small tools made just for kids.
  4. Praise, praise, praise: Everyone responds better to positive reinforcement, so praise your kids lavishly about their new habits. Just don’t be fake about it!
  5. Follow the leader: You can’t expect your kids to believe you about the benefits of flossing if you don’t floss. Make flossing time a family event and provide family rewards.

Four Easy Steps to Foolproof Flossing

The American Dental Association outlines four simple steps for flossing for adults.

  1. Wind: Use about 18 inches of floss and grasp each end between your thumbs and index fingers. Pull the floss taut.
  2. Guide: Use your index fingers to guide the floss between the top and bottom of each tooth.
  3. Glide: Move your floss between the teeth in a smooth, gliding motion.
  4. Slide: Use a clean section of floss for each tooth and slide the floss up and down under the gum line and over the surface of each tooth.

Hand-held flossers are available for those who don’t like to use regular dental floss. You use the same technique, except you hold the handle rather than the floss. Electric flossers are available, as are floss picks for those who dislike either of these methods.

If you have braces or orthodontic appliances, be sure not to get your floss tangled in them. This can cause a considerable amount of damage. Special orthodontic floss and floss threaders are available for those who need to floss in small areas. The procedure is the same as for regular dental floss. Whichever type you select, be sure to use gentle pressure and motion so that you don’t cause damage.

When you floss every day, it becomes second nature, and you don’t even think about not doing it because it’s an ingrained habit. This will be true for your kids as well, so don’t neglect their training in flossing their teeth. If you have any questions about the flossing procedure, then call Dental Solutions at and let us help you.

We look forward to speaking with you.

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