Friday, September 19, 2014

How Important is it that I Floss?

            It is common knowledge that everyone should brush their teeth in order to maintain good oral health. For whatever reason, flossing your teeth daily does not hold the same level of importance with the every person. But by flossing just once a day, you can decrease your risk of gum disease, improve your overall health, and increase the odds of achieving and maintaining good oral health.

            A toothbrush and toothpaste can clean the most of the tooth’s surface area, but only flossing can clean in between the teeth where the toothbrush can’t reach. Dental floss will help to remove debris, plaque and bacteria that remain on the teeth and gums. Not only does its reduce the risk of tooth decay, but removal of this additional debris can also aid in controlling bad breath.

            Flossing should only take you between two and three minutes to complete and should be done at least once daily. Ideally I would recommend flossing right before bed, but any way you can incorporate it into your daily routine should work. The idea is to find a time that is convenient for you so you won’t forget.

            There are a wide variety of flosses available, and for the most part they do a similar job in removing debris and plaque. Wide floss (dental tape) works really well in cleaning large spaces and under bridges, while waxed floss works well between tight contacts. The pre-threaded flossers or floss holders can help when flossing someone else’s teeth or if you have difficulty reaching any spots in your own mouth.  And if you have children, they should begin flossing as soon as they two or more teeth that touch.

            While water picks are a good adjunct to help clean the teeth, they are not effective enough to replace flossing. They help to remove food from difficult areas and around braces, but they do not remove the plaque that remains in between the teeth. When in doubt regarding what type of floss to use in your particular case, be sure to contact your dentist or dental hygienist.

If you have any more questions about flossing or gum disease, visit us at for more answers.

Lee T. Brown, DDS
Brown and Kupper, DDS Inc

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