Do I Have To Floss?

Health tips | 23 Apr 2021

Proper oral hygiene can help keep your breath fresh and your teeth and gums healthy, this could also help prevent periodontal disease. What many people don’t realise is flossing is a very important part of your routine but somehow many people ignore this step the most. This article will help you realise why flossing is so important and vital to include in your oral hygiene routine.

Why is flossing important? 

Many people prioritise brushing because they believe that cleaning the front of your teeth is so important. That is undoubtedly true however, brushing only effectively cleans the front and back of your teeth. Flossing is the only way you can properly clean the sides of your teeth, which is why it is so important. 

Cleaning between your teeth will help maintain your oral health in two specific ways. Firstly, flossing helps dislodge trapped debris and food in difficult areas that you may not even realise is there, and secondly, flossing can remove plaque from the sides of your teeth that you also may not know was even there. Removing plaque is imperative to your oral health. This is because, if it is left unchecked, it can contribute to bigger dental problems. 

What Happens If I Don’t Floss?

If you fail to clean between your teeth by flossing properly, it may contribute to: 

Gum disease

Plaque and tartar build up can contribute to your gums slowly becoming more sensitive and inflamed which are symptoms of gum disease. Remember, early stages of gum disease which is also known as gingivitis, is definitely reversible which means that the sooner you start flossing the better. However, if your gum disease progresses to a later stage (periodontitis) it is treatable but not reversible.

Tartar:

Removing plaque is easier to remove from your teeth with your regular oral care routine. However, when the plaque is left on your teeth or between your teeth it will harden into tartar. Once this occurs, you will not be able to clean it by yourself at home, you will need to book an appointment with your dentist and get their help to professionally clean your teeth to get rid of the tartar. 

Cavities:

Plaque build-up can create tooth decay which can create holes in your teeth. This cannot be treated at home. If this is left untreated, it can lead to pain, infection and it may progress to other issues. 

Chronic disease:

Chronic oral health problems that are connected to various other health problems.

Are there any flossing alternatives?

Many people avoid cleaning between their teeth because either they simply do not know how to correctly do it or they just do not enjoy one specific method, such as the traditional method of using floss tape. If you are one of those people who do not like traditional floss, then you are in luck. There are now a few more tools than you can use to ensure that you are flossing your teeth with the best method that works for you. 

Smiling woman flossing with interdental flossing sticks

There is not one set method that is better than another, the best method is the one that you can cement into your daily routine. Sometimes it’s good to experiment between the different methods out there to see which one is best for you. Here are a few different ways you can floss your teeth: 

  • Traditional floss:

    This is also called floss tape or string floss. You can remove your chosen length of floss each time and use the tape in between your teeth to clean the plaque or food residue stuck there.
  • Flossing device:

    Water flossers have gained a lot of popularity recently. Many people prefer water flossing over other traditional methods due to its comfort and convenience.
  • Dental picks:

    Dental picks are a disposable option that is pre attached to a plastic handle. This means that you do not have the thread the floss between your fingers like you have to do with traditional string floss.
  • Interdental brush:

    These tools are like small toothbrushes, their size makes it easier to clean hard to reach areas in your mouth that you don’t get to with your regular tooth brush. If you have small gaps in between your teeth then interdental brushes are great for you.

Remember: NEVER use any other non dental items such as safety pins, utensils or tooth picks to try clean between your teeth. This is not recommended as they could damage your teeth. 

Getting into the Habit 

It can be hard to add something new to your routine after it has been the same for years and years. But, now is the best time to start a new routine that is better than before and that you can maintain for the rest or your life to ensure that you keep your teeth as healthy as possible and that you prevent any oral issues further down the line. 

What if I Bleed When I Floss?

If you have never used to floss or you have taken a break from it for a while, starting again can be quite uncomfortable or can sometimes cause bleeding at first. This is often normal, don’t let it discourage you. Be sure to floss gently.

If you are worried about your gums bleeding call us give us a call and we can book and appointment or you or read our blog on why you gums may be bleeding and what you should do next

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