The Importance of Flossing Your Teeth

How Flossing Keeps Your Teeth Fresh and Clean and Fights against Diseases 

You’ve probably heard your dentist stress the importance of daily flossing. Despite that, many skip flossing regularly. In fact, the Canadian Dental Association reports that almost 1-in-4 Canadians floss their teeth less than five times a week.

Most dentists agree that flossing is an essential part of your daily oral health routine – it’s an easy way to keep your teeth free from tartar buildup, gum disease, bad breath, and so much more.

Read more to learn about the benefits of flossing daily, and check out our recommendations to make it easier!

Benefits of Flossing 

Get Rid of Plaque 

When food particles stick to your teeth, they form plaque. This is a sticky film-like material that surrounds your teeth and gums. Plaque contains bacteria, which can release harmful acids that attack your teeth’s protective outer layer and increase your risk of developing cavities.

When plaque hardens, it forms what’s known as tartar – this can increase your risk of developing gum disease.

Brushing alone won’t get rid of plaque. This is where dental floss comes in. Floss is designed to fit in between your teeth and loosen or remove plaque. Combined, brushing and flossing can tackle your plaque.

Prevent Gum Disease

When plaque builds up around your gums, it can leave your gums feeling puffy and inflamed. They may also bleed upon brushing and flossing. These are symptoms of gingivitis, the earliest stage in gum disease.

Without treatment, gingivitis can quickly progress to gum disease and cause your gums to recede and become loose.

Flossing regularly is the easiest way to prevent gum disease. Brushing and flossing can remove plaque before it has the chance to get stuck in your gums.

Avoid Cavities

Your teeth have a protective outer layer called enamel. This layer protects the interior of your teeth from decay and other risks. However, plaque releases bacteria that weakens your enamel and creates cavities, which are holes that form in the enamel.

Since flossing helps remove plaque, it is an essential step in cavity prevention.

Keep Your Smile Fresh

Whether you’re posing for a photo, are on a date, or are leading a meeting at work, there are six words you don’t want to hear: “there’s something stuck in your teeth.”

By removing plaque from your teeth, you’ll keep your teeth clean and your breath smelling fresh.

How to Floss Properly: Techniques and Tips

To achieve the healthiest mouth possible, you should floss in a way that cleans your mouth fully and efficiently.

Most dentists recommend two flossing methods — the spool method and the loop method. We suggest trying both to see which one works better for you.

The Spool Method

To perform the spool method, wrap a piece of floss around each of your middle fingers. The floss should form a short line tightly connecting your two fingers. Once that is done, floss in between each pair of teeth.

The Loop Method

To perform the loop method, tie the floss around four of your fingers, creating a loop. Then, use your index finger and thumb to floss between each pair of teeth.

Types of Floss

In most cases, regular floss straight off the shelf should fit perfectly fine into your oral health routine. You may, however, choose to pick a special type of floss to make the process easier and more effective. Here are some alternatives to regular floss:

  • Flavoured dental floss: While just as effective as regular floss, this kind is flavoured to make flossing more pleasant. It’s a great option for kids!

  • Dental tape: This is thicker than regular floss, allowing the user to get out more plaque in many cases.

  • Superfloss: This combines regular floss and dental tape to create the best of both worlds. It is mostly thin, but has a thick piece in the centre.

Additionally, you may choose between waxed or unwaxed floss based on your personal preferences.

Alternatives to Flossing

Do you find flossing to be too irritating to keep up with as a habit? Is your child simply unwilling to floss?

Fortunately, there are a few common alternatives to flossing. Depending on your circumstances, they may be equally effective, but flossing is ultimately the #1 recommended way to clean between teeth.

Consider trying one of these:

  • Floss picks: if you have trouble fitting your fingers into your mouth, you may choose to use floss picks. These small plastic tools contain a small piece of floss, and are shaped to fit in all mouths.

  • Water flossers: these devices shoot a stream of water into your mouth. You can angle them so they shoot water between teeth, pushing out food particles.

  • Air flossers: similar to water flossers, these devices shoot a small puff of air into your mouth. You can angle them so they shoot air between teeth, pushing out food particles.

By keeping up with your flossing habits, you’ll keep your mouth healthy, fresh, and clean. Plus, you’ll avoid issues like gum disease and tooth decay.

Make sure to visit your dentist at least once every six months – your dentist can help you take care of any oral health issues and give you personalized recommendations.