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Why Flossing Is a Must, Not a Maybe

If you’re serious about the status of your oral health, then you know that brushing your teeth at least twice a day is imperative when it comes to keeping your teeth and gums healthy. However, you may not realize that you should also be flossing your teeth once a day. You may find it difficult to believe, but that thin strand of dental floss is the only thing that can eliminate plaque from the areas between your gums and teeth. Failing to rid your mouth of plaque leads to decay, disease and damage that could have been prevented by a simple daily habit.

Everything that you eat and drink is comprised of sugars and starches that stick to your teeth and gums. If you don’t remove those particles every day, they will turn into a type of acid that attacks the fragile enamel of your teeth. These acids will eventually harden into plaque. Plaque is the primary cause of tooth decay, irritated gums and gum disease. Flossing once a day can assist you in preventing these problems from developing and causing you pain and money.

Medical researchers have conducted research that suggests that there is a link between gum diseases and systemic diseases such as pneumonia, heart disease, diabetes and obesity. The bacteria present within plaque causes a great deal of inflammation that can increase your risk of developing these diseases. Flossing every day will rid the bad bacteria from your mouth and lessen your risk of developing chronic health conditions.

No matter how old you are, you should be flossing on a daily basis. While tooth decay and gum disease can happen to anyone, there are some people who are more vulnerable to developing these conditions. Patients who have chronic health conditions or who take certain prescription medications may have less saliva in their mouths than other people. Saliva cleanses bacteria from the mouth. Having lower levels of saliva can lead to more bacteria being in your mouth. This makes flossing incredibly important for those who have a decrease in saliva production due to medications or certain health conditions.

Now that you understand why it’s so important to floss, you need to educate yourself on how to properly floss. All you have to do is take a length of floss, bring it to the base of your tooth and gently pull it along every side of the tooth. This allows you to reach and remove food particles and plaque from every nook and cranny in your mouth. You should repeat this for each tooth and use a fresh piece of floss each time.

Why Kids Need to Floss

Flossing is an essential part of keeping your child’s teeth and gums healthy. Teaching your child how to floss cleans teeth, fights plaque, improves breath and prevents major dental health problems. Your child should be brushing his or her teeth twice a day and flossing once a day. As soon as your child has grown two teeth side by side, it is important to begin teaching him or her the importance of this daily habit.

5 Fun Ways to Get Kids Flossing

  • Track Their Success – Flossing charts with colorful stickers are an excellent way to encourage this essential daily habit. After flossing, your child will be able to put up a sticker on the chart. After collecting a certain number of stickers, your child will be able to earn a reward such as going to the movies, staying up later or buying a new toy.
  • Turn It Into a Games – Make the act of flossing a fun one by singing silly songs and asking your child to floss to the song’s beat. Or you can turn flossing time into a dance party or an exciting story.
  • Use Tiny Tools – There are several special flossing tools that are made just for kids. Floss sticks are a popular tool. These are brightly colored sticks that are easy for children to hold. Some floss sticks even glow in the dark!
  • Praise Their Performance – Positive reinforcement is one of the best ways that you can encourage your child to establish any kind of habit. Be sure to offer praise every time your child flosses. This enables them to feel great about establishing a new habit that will serve them well for their entire lives.
  • Lead by Example – If you floss every day, your child will see how important it is. Modeling the kind of behavior that you want your child to exhibit is the best way to encourage them to do it too. Make flossing time a family event so that everyone will benefit from the habit.

Steps to Take to Be Sure You Are Flossing Properly

The American Dental Hygienists Association says that there are four steps to take to ensure that you are flossing properly. These steps are:

  1. Wind approximately 18 inches of floss in between your index fingers and thumbs. Pull the floss tightly.
  2. Guide the floss with your index fingers in between the bottom and top of every tooth.
  3. Glide the floss between the teeth gently and smoothly.
  4. Slide the floss up and down over each tooth’s surface and just under the gumline. Make sure you use a clean portion of floss for each tooth.

If you aren’t a fan of regular dental floss, you can always try utilizing a hand-held flosser. You will use the same technique as you would for standard dental floss, but you would hold the flosser’s handle instead of the strand of floss. Electric flossers are also available.

People who have braces or other kinds of dental work need to be careful to avoid getting the floss tangled. Your dentist or orthodontist should be able to show how you can use special orthodontic floss or threaders that give you the ability to floss within smaller areas. No matter what sort of floss you utilize, you need to be gentle when flossing.

Making time to floss your teeth every day will instill a healthy habit that will prevent a host of dental and other health issues from setting in. If you wish to learn more about proper flossing habits, contact Dental One Associates of Virginia to further your education.

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