Don’t Forget to Floss: Here’s How

oral hygiene tipsEven if you’re already using dental floss twice daily as recommended by dentists around the world, including your Bella Smiles dentist, you may not be doing enough to fight off tooth decay and gum disease. Although brushing is an integral part of your oral hygiene regimen, flossing regularly is just as important. Brushing can only remove the plaque-forming particles and the bacteria feeding on them that are easiest to reach.

These mostly harmless bacteria release digestive acids when they feed on your plaque. These corrosive fluids break down your tooth enamel as they eat the plaque.  If plaque is not removed, this process will eventually cause holes in your tooth enamel — cavities — that cause sensitivity to temperature and sweetness. Cavities also allow bacteria entry to the insides of your teeth which can lead to infections or even abscesses. The most vulnerable spots are between teeth and just below the gum line where it is difficult to brush effectively.

Bella Smiles, a respected dental practice operating at three different locations across Long Island, would like to inform you about the importance of flossing to your dental hygiene regimen.

Why Is Flossing So Important?

Flossing removes the plaque that your toothbrush can’t easily reach in places such as between your teeth and below the gum line. However, not only should you be flossing regularly but you need to be sure you’re doing it effectively. After all, why floss if you aren’t getting the full benefit?

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is an old saying you may have heard. Flossing is that ounce of prevention where tooth decay is concerned. Flossing daily can help you to avoid uncomfortable, time-consuming and potentially expensive dental procedures that may become necessary when tooth decay is allowed to flourish unchecked between teeth.

How to Floss Correctly

  1. Wrap a length of floss about eighteen inches long around your middle fingers, with more on one side than the other so you can wind up the floss and access a fresh length as you go. Use your thumbs and forefingers to control the floss and move it.
  2. Push the floss between two teeth and use a gentle back and forth (“sawing”) motion all the way from the top of the teeth down to their base where they emerge from your gums to clear out plaque and food particles.
  3. Wrap the floss around the side of one tooth in a “U” shape and then proceed to gently slide up and down your tooth. Repeat this several times, making sure to go slightly underneath the gum-line, then repeat on the opposite side of the tooth before doing the same to each tooth.
  4. Don’t be too worried if you notice that your gums are bleeding as you floss. If you haven’t been flossing regularly, you can expect a little bleeding when you do. This bleeding is caused by the floss disturbing the inflammation brought on by the bacteria dwelling there. If you floss daily as recommended by your Bella Smiles dentist, you should see an improvement in the health of your gums in one to two weeks.

Floss Picks Are Not The Best Way To Floss

Many people prefer to use floss picks that have become widely available at most drug stores.  These “Y” shaped pieces of plastic with floss strung between the “arms” are designed to make flossing easier for consumers by having the floss ready to use for you. However, most dentists would prefer their patients use a  length of “free” floss and their hands. Floss picks aren’t able to wrap around a tooth in the “U” shape needed to remove floss around the base of the tooth. Therefore, you won’t truly be able to floss properly with them. However, it’s still better than not flossing at all.

Schedule An Appointment With Your Dentist

It is generally accepted that flossing after you brush your teeth is ideal as there will already be less plaque and food particles to get stuck on the floss.  If you have any additional questions about brushing, flossing or your oral health, schedule an appointment at one of our convenient Long Island, NY offices in Nesconset, Riverhead or Roslyn today.