People sometimes ask, “Do I really need to floss?”. Good news, you don’t! You really only need to floss the teeth you want to keep. 😀 In all seriousness, flossing is a very important habit to establish, but studies show that only about 30% of Americans actually do this consistently.
Most of us know that we need to brush our teeth to protect against tooth decay. It removes food and plaque that can damage your teeth, but it can’t reach between your teeth or under your gums. This means that 35-40% of the surface of your teeth never gets cleaned by brushing. When you floss once a day, it removes food stuck between your teeth, and cleans the surfaces your toothbrush can’t reach.
If you don’t floss every day, it can lead to many dental problems, and even health issues. Cavities can readily form where plaque builds up between your teeth. Plaque and bacteria between your teeth may also lead to bad breath. Flossing regularly also helps prevent gum disease, which could eventually cause your teeth to fall out.
This video from the American Dental Association gives some great tips on how to floss your teeth.
Some patients give up on flossing because at first it can be uncomfortable or might cause their gums to bleed. This usually gets much better within a week or two as their mouth gets used to the new flossing routine. Some also have trouble using dental floss. We can recommend many alternative tools to make flossing easier and more comfortable.
Please let us know if you have any questions or need advice on how to floss effectively. At the Hill Dental Group, we love teaching our patients how to establish healthy dental habits. We can also give all the surfaces of your teeth a professional cleaning to keep your smile healthy.