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Why Flossing Is a Necessity, Not a Nice to Have

Even though we’ve been told for decades that brushing twice each day would keep the cavities at bay, that’s not strictly true. Dentists and the American Dental Association now state that you need to floss at least once daily in addition to your twice-daily brushing habits to ensure the best dental health. Otherwise, food particles that remain can cause tooth decay, cavities, gum disease, and more. Your toothbrush can reach prominent places, but a single strand of dental floss can reach between the teeth and the gums and remove food residue that’s lodged in areas a normal toothbrush can’t reach.

Flossing every day will provide the additional protection that you need to maintain the best oral health possible. After you eat, the food particles that remain in your mouth combine with the bacteria in your mouth and begin to attack your tooth enamel. When the food particles and bacteria aren’t removed through brushing and flossing, you can quickly develop inflamed gums, cavities, and gum disease that can make all your teeth fall out. As amazing as it seems, all of this damage can be prevented by a regimen of good oral hygiene that includes brushing, flossing, and rinsing your mouth.

Flossing benefits not only your teeth and gums but your entire body! Research has shown a correlation between poor oral health conditions, such as periodontal disease, and serious physical health issues such as dementia, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and pneumonia. Research is ongoing, but the inflammation that’s initially responsible for gum disease appears to trigger these physical diseases. The simple act of flossing each day can reduce your risk of developing these diseases.

Anyone in a high-risk category should be especially cautious with their flossing habits, such as those who have a dry mouth. One of the functions of the salivary glands is to maintain the moisture level in the mouth. When you have an adequate level of saliva, it will continually cleanse the mouth of bacteria and promote oral health. If you perpetually have a dry mouth, then talk to your dentist about solutions. Some people are physiologically inclined toward a dry mouth. Others have it as a result of the medications they take. Either way, your dentist may be able to provide you with a solution.

Although any regular flossing routine is helpful to good oral health, you need to floss correctly for it to be completely effective. To floss properly, take about 18 inches of dental floss – it may be helpful to wrap it around your index fingers at either end – and pull it taut. Insert it between two teeth, then gently seesaw it back and forth and up and down. This will help reach all the remote areas between your teeth that your toothbrush will most likely miss. Repeat this for each tooth and use a new section of floss each time. Rinse your mouth well after you floss.

Flossing: Not Just for Adults!

Flossing is as essential for kids as it is for adults, perhaps even more so. When your kids learn to floss at an early age, they begin to develop good oral hygiene habits that will last throughout their lifetime. When a child has two abutting teeth, they should start learning to floss. Although it may be challenging to teach kids about flossing, it’s worth the investment of your time.

Five Fun Flossing Motivators

One of the best methods for teaching kids new skills is to make learning fun. Below are some ideas that may encourage your child when you’re trying to teach them how to floss.

  1. Success needs a reward: Make or buy a flossing chart and hang it on their bathroom wall at their eye level. Each time they floss, add a sticker or a star. After several consecutive days of flossing, reward them with a favorite movie, a favorite treat, or an extended bedtime, for example.
  2. It’s all fun and games: Make flossing fun by turning it into a dance party or an adventure. Play lively dance music, tell a story, or make up your own activity.
  3. Maximize the tools: Adult flossing tools are boring and cumbersome. Child flossing tools, however, are smaller, brightly colored, and some even glow in the dark. Get tools that fit your child.
  4. You’re great: Be sure to praise your child’s performance when they’ve mastered flossing or one step of it. Just don’t overdo it. Kids want genuine praise, not fake overtures.
  5. Lead the way: You need to floss if you expect to succeed in teaching your children the value of flossing. You can turn flossing time into a family activity with rewards for everyone.

Foolproof Flossing in Four Easy Steps

The American Dental Association has provided easy-to-follow guidelines for learning how to floss.

  1. Wind: Use about 18 inches of floss, hold it between your index fingers and thumbs, and then pull it taut.
  2. Guide: Use your index fingers to guide the floss between the bottom and top of each tooth.
  3. Glide: Smoothly and gently glide the floss back and forth, then up and down over the surfaces of the teeth and under the gum line.
  4. Slide: Carefully move the floss over the surface of each tooth and use a clean section of floss each time. Remember to rinse your mouth thoroughly when you’re done flossing.

Some people have an aversion to regular dental floss. Hand-held flossers are available which function like regular dental floss. The difference is that instead of grasping the floss, you grasp the handle of the apparatus. Electric flossers are also available, and they work the same as manual flossers.

Those who have braces or other orthodontic appliances should take care not to tangle the floss in their dental appliances. Your dentist can recommend special orthodontic floss threaders that are designed to work in small spaces. Either way, be sure not to damage your gums or your orthodontic appliance.

When you are dedicated to flossing every day, it becomes second nature, and you’ll do it without even thinking about it. If you have any questions about flossing or how to floss, then call Imagix Dental at , and we’ll be happy to help you. We look forward to helping you master the art of flossing!

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