I used to ask myself this question each time I visited the dentist. I’ve been a very diligent brusher, but flossing was not an important part of my day, or even week. Good genetics and a balanced diet saved me from a mouth-full of cavities as a child. But now, I wonder how many of my patients ask themselves the same question. Of course, the choice to floss, or not to floss, is entirely up to you! But here’s a few reasons why you might want to give it another chance.
Flossing Isn’t Just About Cavities!
Before I went to dental school, I rationalized that I didn’t need to floss because I didn’t get cavities. And I cannot believe how wrong I was! Even the best toothbrush can only reach 60% of your tooth surfaces on a good day, which means you are leaving a lot of disease-causing bacteria behind. Floss was designed as a way to clean those areas between the teeth and below the gumline.
While flossing is crucial for preventing cavities between the teeth, it’s also important in preventing gum disease. If plaque is not removed, it hardens into tartar below the gumline. The body sees this as an infection, which leads to inflammation called gingivitis. If left untreated, this inflammation can eventually erode the bone and gums supporting the teeth. Good oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing, together with your regular dental cleanings, helps prevent and treat this disease.
We also know that reducing the number of bacteria in the mouth also lowers the risk of developing diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Flossing only takes a few minutes everyday, but it can have huge implications for your long-term health.
How to Start Flossing
The gold standard for oral hygiene is still dental floss. However, not all floss is created equal! There are ribbon-styles for tight teeth, expanding-floss for big spaces, and a variety of flavours and textures. Take some of our samples and find what works for you!
The biggest reason for not flossing is FORGETTING! We’re all busy and tired at the end of the day. So, try switching things up:
- Keep your floss in the shower;
- Floss in the morning, or after dinner, instead of before bedtime;
- Set an alarm;
- Floss as a family!
But if you really can’t stand flossing, here are some alternatives:
- Proxibrushes – small “tree-shaped” nylon brushes that fit between teeth
- Soft Picks – very small brushes that act like toothpicks, but cause less damage to the gums;
- WaterPik – when used correctly, the WaterPik will flush plaque away from the teeth and is very effective for people wearing braces or with bridges that are difficult to floss around.
*Follow the links as these tools are available online for purchase through Walmart, Amazon, Costco, and other sites*
Our team at Horizon Dental is dedicated to helping people achieve optimal oral health. We are excited to be accepting new patients, you can call us at (778) 765-3928 or click here. You can also find us on Facebook and Instagram!