June 28, 2019
A few years ago, the Associated Press published an article claiming that flossing is not as important as dental professionals have been saying it is. Some people have stopped flossing as a result of that article. However, flossing is just as crucial as brushing when it comes to maintaining proper oral health. A dentist in Fremont is here to talk about just how important flossing really is.
What Are the Facts of Flossing?
The Associated Press article claims that there is no scientific evidence that flossing prevents gum disease and cavities. However, research published in the Journal of Dental Hygiene has shown that regular tooth brushing and flossing can reduce gingivitis at one, three, and six months, but cannot reduce plaque at one or three months. AP appears to have taken this conclusion a little too far in claiming that flossing doesn’t matter.
What Happens If I Don’t Floss?
Without flossing, you are unable to remove dental plaque buildup from between your teeth. This can lead to cavities in those areas. In addition, plaque buildup along the gumline can result in gingivitis. This is because plaque irritates the gum tissue, making it red and inflamed and causing it to bleed easily and breed more bacteria.
If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to full-fledged gum disease. This can make gum tissue recede from the teeth and form pockets. Bacteria can travel into these pockets and, through the bloodstream, reach other areas of the body. They can travel to the lungs and cause pneumonia. They can reach the heart and cause hardened arteries, increasing your risk for heart attack and stroke. Flossing is about much more than your oral health. It affects the rest of your body as well.
How Should I Floss?
The best time of day to floss is right before bed. This cleans out plaque from between your teeth and prevents them from festering and eating away at your enamel during the night. Use a waxed floss, as that won’t shred between the teeth. Here are the steps to a proper and effective flossing technique:
- Start with around 18 inches of floss.
- Wind most of the floss around each middle finger, leaving an inch or two to work with.
- Hold the floss between your thumbs and index fingers.
- Slide it gently up and down between your teeth.
- Curve the floss around the base of each tooth. Be sure to go beneath the gumline.
- Use a different section of floss for each side of each tooth.
- Use the same back-and-forth motion to remove the floss from between the teeth.
Flossing may seem like a hassle, but its importance cannot be overstated. By gradually adding flossing to your nighttime routine, you can drastically preserve not only your oral health, but the health of the rest of your body as well!
About the Author
Dr. James Block achieved his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree at the University of California, fulfilling his dream to be a dentist just like his father and grandfather before him. He has provided quality preventive care to his patients in and around Fremont, CA, ever since he opened his own practice there almost 30 years ago. If you would like to learn more from him about how important flossing is, contact him here or call him at (510)-793-0801.
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