Why Is Flossing Important?
Some of the food we eat is essential for health and well-being and some is just junk that we could live without. Whether your diet consists of completely healthy foods or whether you eat lots of sugary snacks, everything you eat can be unhealthy for your teeth.
The bacteria that is normally present in your mouth converts the sugars and starches in your food into acids. Together, the bacteria and acids mix with food particles to form plaque, a sticky film that coats your teeth. If left in your mouth, plaque attacks your tooth enamel and dissolves it, creating a hole, called a cavity, in the hard outer casing of the tooth. Plaque hardens into tartar, which only a dental cleaning by a professional can remove. Plaque and tartar irritates your gums and, if left unchecked, causes gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums, which in turn can lead to periodontal disease and tooth loss. Plaque can also be a source of bad breath. So now you see why Dr. Boschken, his dedicated staff, your general dentist and other dental professionals place such an emphasis on good oral hygiene!
Good oral hygiene is a routine of brushing and flossing every day to remove plaque from your mouth. You should brush at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. Brushing teeth properly and consistently helps to remove most dental plaque, but brushing alone can't remove plaque that is located in places that a toothbrush can't reach…such as between your teeth. Toothbrushes only work on the exposed outer surfaces of your teeth, flossing gets between your teeth and under the gum line.
As a part of your daily routine, you should floss at least once a day, especially after eating foods that easily stick between the teeth, such as sticky or gummy candies, corn on the cob, popcorn, or potato chips. (Floss first to loosen and dislodge plaque and food, then brush to sweep particles away.) In addition to removing plaque, flossing also helps to remove food debris that adheres to teeth and gums in between teeth, polishes tooth surfaces and helps control bad breath.
Flossing helps keep your teeth their whitest by removing food that could stain them. Flossing well also means your trips to the hygienist will be shorter and more pleasant, because you'll be doing most of the work of removing plaque and tartar in advance. Trips to the dentist will also be more economical, because you'll need fewer dental procedures such as fillings.
If you practice basic dental care, which means brushing and flossing regularly, eating a mouth-healthy diet, and visiting your dentist for check-ups and your dental hygienist for cleanings, you can prevent tooth decay and gum disease and your teeth will last a lifetime.
Floss aids, threaders, water pik machines, and superfloss enable you to floss with much more ease while wearing orthodontic appliances. Please ask our friendly dental staff if you need any help understanding how to use these materials when you next visit. We are always happy to help you obtain your dream smile!