Celebrate National Flossing Day!
Happy National Flossing Day (a few days late). No, this isn’t a joke – Thanksgiving was National Flossing Day, but we thought we’d give you a few days to emerge from the Thanksgiving food coma before bringing up this vital-to-your-dental-health topic. At Perfect Smiles in Westport, MA and Seekonk, MA, we know the importance of flossing properly to maintain a healthy mouth and a great smile.
“Use The Floss, Luke.”
Your first line of defense against cavities and gum disease is composed of your toothbrush and your dental floss. Those are items that you should use daily (twice daily for your toothbrush) to minimize the chance that dental plaque will form.
Plaque is caused by bacteria in the mouth that combine with saliva to create a thin, sticky film. Plaque forms on the gum line around the teeth and keeps those bacteria in close contact with the gums and teeth. The bacteria eat the sugars in our foods and beverages; in response, they produced acids that erode dental enamel and irritate the gums.
Fortunately, plaque is soft when first formed and is easily removed by your toothbrush and dental floss. Basically, the idea is to loosen the plaque and then rinse it away. But you toothbrush won’t reach between your teeth effectively which is where your dental floss comes into play.
There’s no evidence to show that one type of dental floss is better than another. Choose from waxed, unwaxed, and ribbon floss as you like. The important thing is to floss thoroughly at least once a day; more often if you’re prone to gum disease.
Yes, That Much Floss
Your floss will remove some plaque and loosen the rest in the vast majority of cases. However, you’ll get better results if you reserve a clean section of floss for each contact between teeth. Usually, an 18-inch length will do for most people. That may sound like a lot, but there are two things to keep in mind: most people wind the ends of the floss around their fingers, and there are a lot of tooth contacts in the mouth plus the ends of your rearmost teeth.
Many people don’t use dental floss properly, and flossing too aggressively can irritate and even damage your gums. Keep enough tension in the floss to scrape the sides of the teeth within the contacts thoroughly. Remember, plaque is soft initially, so not much pressure is needed. Use a clean section of floss whenever possible for each contact and for the rearmost teeth.
Then, rinse thoroughly! Don’t give plaque that you’ve just loosened a chance to take up residence again.
Get Expert Help
With regular and thorough brushing and flossing, most people can keep plaque from getting a firm foothold in the mouth. However, there are many tiny nooks and crannies in the mouth, and it’s not always possible to clean all of them thoroughly. That’s why regular dental cleanings and examinations are so important to your oral health.