If you want healthy teeth and gums, flossing isn’t optional. Here’s how to make it a habit.
Are you one of the many people who start flossing the week before a dental appointment, and then stop again as soon as you’ve been able to look your dentist in the eye and say, yes, you do floss? We get it; this feels like another chore to add to your day; it takes extra time, it feels messy or awkward, it’s just plain boring, or it can even be uncomfortable or painful. But the truth is, with regular flossing using the right products, it doesn’t have to – and actually shouldn’t – be uncomfortable, and the benefits far outweigh the inconveniences. If you’re a floss-hater, here’s why it’s time to get on board, and how to make it happen.
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5 reasons you should be flossing
You should be flossing at least once per day in order to maintain your tooth and gum health. Here’s why:
Reason 1: If you don’t floss, you’re missing two of your tooth’s 5 surfaces. Brushing is obviously very important, but the simple truth is if you’re only brushing, you’re not fully cleaning and removing plaque from all of the surfaces of your teeth. Your toothbrush can’t reach the surfaces between your teeth and in along your gums – but floss can.
Reason 2: Not flossing greatly increases your risk of gum disease. Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is very damaging to your teeth, gums, and jaw, and it begins when plaque forms and builds up on your teeth just below the visible edge of the gums. Flossing is the only way to avoid gum disease.
Reason 3: Flossing actually polishes the surfaces of your teeth. The motion of flossing is actually polishing your enamel in a safe, non-abrasive way.
Reason 4: Flossing can control bad breath. It’s pretty safe to say that chronic bad breath is something no one ever wants. Flossing will catch particles of food and built-up plaque that your toothbrush will miss, and therefore help to control bad breath.
Reason 5: Flossing can actually reverse harm to teeth and gums. While not flossing has serious effects, once you make it a habit, it will actually help unhealthy teeth and gums return to a healthy condition. Not only will this prevent tooth loss, gum disease, and other issues, but it will also improve your appearance and make you look younger and healthier. Not bad for a simple habit!
5 ways to get flossing
The key to making flossing a habit is to make it easier. Here are some ideas for getting even the most reluctant among us flossing:
Tip 1: Choose the right floss. If you have hated flossing in the past, consider switching up the type of floss you were using. There are waxed and synthetic options available, which might make it more comfortable for you to floss if your teeth are tight. Wide floss called dental tape can be helpful for those with a lot of bridge work or with wider gaps between the teeth.
You can even try out a floss holder – a small tool that holds a piece of floss between two ends – which can sometimes be handy for people with limited dexterity or those who are just beginning to floss. These varieties all clean teeth in the same way, so the important thing is to try different products until you find one you like.
Tip 2: Try a flavoured floss. Hey, sometimes it’s the little things. If a flavoured floss makes the experience more pleasant for you, there are many varieties available, and your mouth will be pleasantly fresh when you’re finished.
Tip 3: Floss before you go to bed. If flossing after meals isn’t accessible or realistic for you, make it part of your bedtime routine. Flossing should only take about 2 minutes once you get the hang of it, and once it becomes habit, you won’t even think about it.
Tip 4: Remember that healthy gums don’t bleed from flossing. If flossing is painful or causes your gums to bleed, it is because your gums are not healthy. Once you’ve made flossing a habit, you should not be experiencing pain. If your gums are chronically bleeding, be sure to see your dentist.
Tip 5: Take flossing out of the bathroom. If you really struggle with remembering to floss, keep a roll in places like your purse or beside the TV remote. Whatever gets you flossing at least once per day is worth a try!
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Prevention is much easier than the alternative
If you need help getting started with flossing, we’ll be happy to show you the ropes! Remember that maintenance and prevention through good oral hygiene is much easier, less painful, and less expensive than fixing problems after-the-fact. Make proper regular flossing and brushing a habit, and it will pay off in the long run.
If it’s time for a professional cleaning, you can book online or call us here!