How important is flossing your teeth?

How important is flossing your teeth?

We understand that at the end of a busy day, spending the time to floss your teeth might not be at the top of your to do list, but if you’re one of our existing patients, you’ve probably heard us say that you need to both brush and floss your teeth twice daily. But how important actually is dental flossing? Let’s take a look.

 

Is brushing my teeth alone enough?

You may think that brushing your teeth is sufficient at removing plaque and bacteria from your teeth and gums, but brushing alone can’t remove the bacteria from in between your teeth. 

Imagine that each tooth has 5 sides including the four sides and top. If you are only brushing then you are leaving two sides unclean. The plaque that is in between your teeth can eventually cause cavities and gum disease if not cleaned. 

The longer you leave these areas of your teeth unclean the harder the plaque will be to remove and can lead to oral health problems further down the line.

Regular flossing can also help reduce bad breath by removing plaque that forms along the gum line. So all in all dental floss can help keep your smile clean and fresh.

 

Choosing the right dental floss

There are three different types of dental floss, including:

  • Regular dental floss – dental floss is sting like and can be waxed or unwaxed
  • Dental floss tape – Dental floss tape is slightly wider than floss string and is used for cleaning bigger spaces 
  • Interdental brushes – the brushes have small bristled heads designed to clean between your teeth, and they come in different widths to suit the sizes of the gaps

How to use dental floss and dental tape?

  • It’s best to floss before brushing your teeth.
  • Take 30 – 45cm (12 to 18 inches) of the floss or dental tape and hold it taught between your hands
  • Slide the floss between the teeth as far as it will go
  • Move the floss in upward and downward strokes roughly 8 – 10 times between each tooth to dislodge food and plaque

How to use interdental brushes?

  • Use the interdental brushes to clean in between your teeth once a day
  • Use a brush that is the same size as the space between your teeth. You may need to use more than one brush size
  • Insert the brush gently between your teeth. If the brush is too big don’t try to force it in, simply use a smaller brush
  • Use the interdental brushes between every tooth to ensure you have removed the bacteria

What if my gums bleed?

When you first start using dental floss or interdental brushes you gums may bleed slightly as you start to get rid of the plaque build up but the bleeding should stop within a few days as your gums become healthier. However if the bleeding continues be sure to speak to your dentist to make sure you are flossing correctly.

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