Picking Up a Healthy Habit: Flossing!

Posted by on Mar 25, 2013 in Blogs | 12 comments

A survey done in 2008 showed that 10% of Americans never floss and less than half the population flosses. Many seem to discount the importance of flossing, but it has been found to be even more essential than tooth brushing when it comes to the prevention periodontal disease and tooth loss.

People generally consider flossing as a means to remove food stuck in between teeth. However, flossing takes a further step and actually removes dental plaque, which is the known to be the main culprit of tooth decay, gingivitis, and gum disease. If plaque is not properly removed, it can harden into tartar, which can only be removed by a dental professional. When this occurs, brushing and cleaning between teeth can become more difficult, leading to swollen or even bleeding gum tissue. Another reason for a lack of flossing is how troublesome it can be.  Dentists do admit that it is not easy! But with more practice, you can get the hang of it.

The American Dental Association provides a couple steps to get you on board with flossing:

  • Use about 18 in. of floss wound around one of your middle fingers, with the rest wound around the opposite middle finger.
  • Hold the floss tightly between the thumbs and forefingers and gently insert it between the teeth.
  • Curve the floss into a “C” shape against the side of the tooth.
  • Rub the floss gently up and down, keeping it pressed against the tooth. Don’t jerk or snap the floss.
  • Floss all your teeth and don’t forget to floss behind your back teeth!

Remember, the last step is just as important! Although it may seem unlikely for anything to get stuck in that area, most gum disease and tooth decay is found in the back of your mouth. Be mindful of your back teeth as you floss. The American Dental Association also recommends flossing once a day. Many people find flossing in the evening before bed a good time to do so, allowing them to go to sleep with clean teeth.

If flossing proves to be very difficult for you or if poses as a problem due to previous dental work, do not fret! Alternatives to flossing include toothpick-like dental stimulators, such as Stim-U-Dents and Soft-Picks, allows you to go in spaces between your teeth as well. If you find it hard to maneuver floss between teeth, switching to waxed floss will make flossing smoother and easier to get between the crevices.

If you have any more questions about flossing, feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group; they will be happy to answer your questionsContact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment and consultation.


ADA Public Resources

ADA Floss Article




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