Why Is Flossing So Important?

family dentist lost mountain dentalYou may already be brushing your teeth twice daily as recommended by Dr. Michael H. Mulkey of Lost Mountain Dental at Due West in Marietta, GA and dentists worldwide. This is commendable and you should definitely keep it up. However, even that dedication is not enough to fight off tooth decay and gum disease alone. Brushing is an integral part of your oral hygiene routine but flossing is equally important.

Brushing your teeth only eliminates the easily-reached plaque and bacteria. The plaque between your teeth and the bacteria feeding on it can cause tooth decay, cavities and even gingivitis and gum disease.

Why Is Flossing So Important?

This where flossing can make a crucial difference as it clears away the plaque that your toothbrush can’t easily reach in places like between your teeth or at the gum line. However, it is very important that you are flossing correctly. An old motto says “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and that is what flossing is where tooth decay is concerned, preventing you from needing painful, time-consuming and potentially costly dental procedures.

How to Floss Correctly

1. Wrap a length of floss about eighteen inches long around your middle fingers and wind the used floss up as you use it to access a fresh length. Use your thumbs and forefingers to control the floss and move it between your teeth.

2. Push the floss between two teeth and use a gentle “sawing” (back and forth) motion all the way from the top of the teeth down to their base where they erupt from your gums.

3. Wrap the floss around the side of one tooth in a “U” shape then gently slide up and down your tooth. Make sure to go slightly underneath the gum-line to get at the hidden plaque and bacteria there, then repeat on the other side of the tooth. Repeat this for each tooth.

4. Don’t worry too much if you notice blood as you floss. A little bleeding is perfectly normal if you haven’t been flossing regularly. This bleeding is caused by irritating the inflammation brought on by the bacteria dwelling there. If you floss at least once daily as recommended by your dentist, you should begin to see an improvement in the health of gums in one to two weeks.

Floss Picks Are Less Effective Than You Think

Some patients prefer the floss picks that are now widely available at most retail stores. These “Y” shaped pieces of plastic with floss strung between the “arms” of the “Y” are designed to make flossing easier but are actually ineffective compared to “freehand flossing”. It isn’t really possible to floss properly with floss picks due to the fact that you cannot wrap the floss around your tooth in the “U” shape recommended. However, using picks is still better than not flossing at all.

Schedule An Appointment With Your Dentist

Most dentists agree that flossing after your brush is preferred as there will already be less plaque and food particles to get stuck on the floss.  If you have any additional questions about brushing, flossing or your oral health, call (678) 212-1280 or schedule an appointment online with Dr. Mulkey at Lost Mountain Dental in Marietta, GA today.