Here, our North Sydney dentists explain why flossing is so important to your oral hygiene and why you should avoid skipping it if you can.
The Importance of Flossing
Preventive oral hygiene is more than attending regular dental exams and cleanings. It also means practicing daily oral health routines at home, like brushing and flossing regularly.
Flossing once each day is the best way to clean your teeth both above and below the gum line when conducted in combination with tooth brushing. Flossing helps to clean hard-to-reach spaces, preventing plaque from building up and causing oral issues like gum disease, cavities and bad breath.
There are many myths about flossing, which can cause people to skip this vital oral health care practice altogether.
Here, our dentists debunk some of the myths about flossing and explain why you should never skip this important practice:
Myth: You only need to floss if you have food stuck in your teeth.
Brushing your teeth won't remove bacteria from between your teeth, so only a portion of each tooth's surface is getting cleaned. Even if you don't feel or see something stuck between your teeth, there is plaque that is buildup up. This can only be removed by flossing to prevent issues like gum disease, bad breath and cavities.
Myth: You can use mouthwash instead of floss.
Like brushing, mouthwash doesn't remove the plaque between your teeth. While mouthwash can be an effective supplement to your oral health care routine, it should never be used as a replacement for flossing.
Myth: You can't floss if you are wearing braces.
It may be more difficult to floss if you have traditional metal braces, but it is still necessary. Flossing will help keep your gum line clean and free from plaque buildup during your orthodontic treatment. Today, there are also alternative orthodontic treatment options, like Invisalign clear aligners, that can be removed for brushing and flossing to make the process easier.
Myth: Your children are too young to floss.
The earlier that your child begins flossing their teeth, the more likely they will be to maintain good oral health care routines into their adulthood. If it will be difficult to floss on their own, encourage them and help them along the way as they learn. If your kid is younger than 10, you can floss their teeth for them.
Myth: Your gums bleed when you floss, so you should stop.
If your gums bleed while flossing, this is actually usually a sign that you need to floss more. The more often you floss, the less your gums are likely to bleed. If you notice that your gums continue bleeding even after flossing frequently, this may be a sign of a different oral health issue such a periodontal disease and you should flag your concerns with your dentist.