Do I Really Need to Floss?

In short, the answer is yes. But you may appreciate a little more detail so that you understand exactly how important it is to floss your teeth on a regular basis. Although brushing your teeth is critically important, food debris can still remain between your teeth, causing cavities.

The American Dental Association advises patients to floss once daily at a minimum. But if you don’t meet the standard, you are not alone. A recent study analyzed people’s flossing habits and found that only a third of them followed the recommendation of their dentist to floss daily. About a third reported only flossing occasionally, while another third of the study participants never floss at all.

As clean as you may feel that your teeth and mouth are, this area is actually teeming with hundreds of different types of bacteria at any given time. Many of them are helpful, while others are harmful. By keeping up with your regular oral routine, such as flossing, you are ensuring that the bad guys don’t take over!

A normal tooth brush cannot reach in between the teeth and the harmful bacteria and food debris that may be lurking there. When bacteria rapidly accumulate, it leads to a variety of oral health problems. Tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath are some notable problems that can develop when you fail to floss regularly.

By making flossing a regular part of your oral care routine, you are removing food deposits that provide a food source for damaging oral bacteria. So the benefits of flossing include cleaner teeth that are less likely to be affected by tooth decay that would require costly dental work down the road.

There are different kinds of dental floss available. Each of them work in a similar way to help prevent plaque. If you have a lot of bridgework or gaps between your teeth, you may want to use wide dental floss or dental tape. Waxed dental floss may prove easier to reach between restorations or tight teeth.

Unwaxed dental floss lets you know when your teeth are clean by making a squeaking noise; however, it tends to tear more than waxed dental floss.

If you have a young child, you should begin flossing their teeth from the moment that they have two teeth touching together.

An irrigation device or water flosser is not a substitute for brushing and flossing since it cannot remove plaque. However, they can still be helpful in removing food from around braces where a tooth brush cannot reach and, personally, I really like them! You may be also advised to use a water flosser containing an antibacterial agent if you have gum disease. Check out some of my favorite products, including which water flossers I like here!

I hope this helps,

Thanks for your support!

– Dr. Houlik




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