If you stay up to date with dental news, you might have come across articles stating that the benefits of flossing are unproven. If so, you might wonder why dentists continue to recommend that everyone maintain a healthy flossing routine.
The short version is: flossing is low risk, low cost, and it’s possible that it works to remove food and debris and prevent plaque build-up. So, it’s worth keeping up!
Research About Flossing
The statement that the health benefits of flossing haven’t been proven was widely published after the American Associated Press discovered the U.S. Government had been recommending flossing in their guidelines without adequate scientific backing.
Now, that’s not to say that flossing isn’t beneficial.
Instead, it means that the scientific studies completed to date haven’t provided scientifically reliable results.
Nonetheless, governments and leading dental authorities around the world strongly urge teens and adults to develop healthy flossing habits.
Because, the potential for harm caused by inflamed gums, gum disease, and plaque build-up far outweigh the risks and costs associated with flossing.
The dentists at Canyon Dental see the teeth and gums of Canadians every day. And the difference between those who floss and those who don’t is striking.
Health Benefits of Flossing
So, what are the likely health benefits of flossing? Here are 3 that will hopefully inspire you to develop and maintain that healthy flossing habit.
Brushing and Flossing is More Effective Than Brushing Alone
Brushing and flossing work in tandem to dislodge all food debris around your teeth and beneath your gumline. The food particles that are left between your teeth causes both gum inflammation and tooth decay. It is therefore important that you do what you can to remove it.
Flossing Helps Prevent Bad Breath
Decaying food doesn’t smell great. Having it lodged between your teeth contributes to bad breath. It’s better to simply get rid of it – with floss.
Flossing Can Help Your Smile Appear Brighter
Flossing can help to dislodge build-up around the base of your tooth that your toothbrush might have missed. Getting rid of this rids your smile of yellow build-up, revealing the brighter tooth underneath.
This helps your smile appear brighter (until the build-up comes back).
How To Floss Correctly
Technique is key to good dental hygiene. And many of us are getting it wrong.
The Canadian Dental Association recommends flossing like so:
Step 1: Wrap a length of floss (equal to the distance from your hand to your shoulder) around your index and middle fingers, leaving about two inches between your hands.
Step 2: Slide the floss between your teeth and wrap it into a “C” shape around the base of the tooth and gently under the gumline. Then, wipe the tooth from base to tip two or three times.
Note that they recommend wiping from base to tip, not moving the floss from side to side.
Step 3: Floss both sides of every tooth using a new section of floss as it shows signs of wear or picks up particles and debris.
Step 4: After flossing, put it in the garbage – not down the toilet.
They also recommend brushing after flossing. Though, many dentists believe that the order matters less than the technique used.
Flossing Problems and Risk
Proper flossing comes with minimal risk and can be done at minimal cost.
The Canadian Dental Association asserts that, while your gums might bleed when you initially start flossing, the bleeding should stop after a few days.
If not, or if you’re having any trouble with your technique, get in touch with your Canyon Dental dentist or hygenist.
Flossing as Part of a Healthy Routine
Flossing should be part of your healthy dental hygiene routine. In addition to daily brushing and flossing, you should visit your Canyon Dental dentist every 3-6 months (depending on your risk profile) for tooth scalings (cleanings).
Here are some tips for how you can prepare for your visit to the dentist.
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