Sadly, millions of people do not floss every day. If you see room for improvement in your flossing habits, you may have decided to make 2022 the year when you finally incorporate it into your daily routine. How can you stick to this important New Year’s resolution? Let’s talk about why flossing is so important and some simple things you can do to make sure you do it every day.
The Importance of Flossing
When you brush your teeth, the bristles only make contact with about 60% of the teeth’s surfaces. They simply cannot reach into the tight spaces between the teeth. Plaque and bacteria can easily accumulate there, increasing your risk of cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. Flossing helps to lower the risk that you will suffer from such conditions. An analysis of a dozen clinical studies even found that brushing and flossing together reduce mild gum disease better than brushing alone.
Improve Your Flossing Habits
Here are a few things you can do to incorporate flossing into your daily routine:
Pay Attention to Technique
Many people who find flossing to be uncomfortable do not do it correctly. Your hygienist can coach you on proper technique at your next preventive dental care appointment. In the meantime, here are a few practical tips:
- Make sure you use enough floss. Start out with 18 inches or so.
- Roll the floss between your middle fingers as you move around your mouth. You should always be using a clean section.
- Never “snap” the floss between your teeth. Gently insert it, and then move it along the sides of both teeth that surround a space.
- Use the right type of floss. For example, many people with small spaces between their teeth find it uncomfortable and difficult to use thick floss.
Set Up Reminders
If you do not floss as often as you should because you tend to forget about it, think about strategies you can use to remind yourself. For example, you might create an alert on your phone. You could also ask your family members to keep you accountable. Many people find it beneficial to store their floss somewhere it is easily visible rather than tucked in a drawer somewhere.
Consider Alternatives if Necessary
Old-fashioned string floss is the best way to clean between teeth. However, if you have mobility problems or braces, you may choose to use a water flosser (also called an oral irrigator) instead. It uses a concentrated stream of water to remove plaque and bacteria from teeth. It isn’t quite as effective as floss, but it is better than doing nothing.
Flossing is hugely important for proper oral hygiene! Sticking to your resolution to make it part of your daily routine will reward you with a healthier, fresher smile.
Meet the Practice
Elmbrook Family Dental features a team of experienced, friendly, and skilled dentists. They place a strong emphasis on preventive care, and they are always happy to answer patients’ questions about at-home oral hygiene. To learn more about them and how they may be able to serve you, contact our Brookfield office at 262-784-7201.