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All You Need to Know about Floss for Teeth

At Brady Dental of Amarillo, we believe that you must floss consistently to maintain good dental health as it dislodges food particles between your teeth. Flossing also helps eliminate bacteria and plaque, which can accumulate in the spaces between your teeth and gums, causing cavities and gum disease.

According to a national survey, 68% of American adults floss at least once a week, although 20% do not floss at all. Brady Dental of Amarillo can help educate you on the finer points of flossing.

What is a floss for teeth?

Dental floss is a cord of thin threads which you can use as an interdental cleaning device. You insert it between teeth to dislodge food particles and dental plaque from areas your toothbrush can’t reach. The hygienist at Brady Dental of Amarillo can show you how to floss.

Is it better to brush or floss?

Brushing your teeth as recommended by dentists will remove dental plaque and reduce the risk of developing cavities. However, cleaning your teeth using a toothbrush only isn’t enough to maintain gum health and keep cavities at bay. Make an appointment with the dentist at Brady Dental of Amarillo to clean your teeth and be shown how to floss correctly.

According to research, a single session of brushing only removes about 43% of plaque. That’s why the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends flossing and other interdental cleaners to eliminate plaque and food particles that a toothbrush can’t clean.

Flossing alone will not remove the plaque or clean the surface of your teeth. Therefore, you should brush your teeth and floss them to ensure proper oral hygiene. Also, you should visit your dentist at Brady Dental of Amarillo for regular check-ups and cleanings.

How do you floss teeth properly?

When you fail to floss correctly, you could end up hurting your gums and teeth. So, follow these steps to floss your teeth the right way:

  • Pull out and break off about 18 – 24 inches of the floss and then wrap most of it around the index or middle finger of each of your hands. It would be best to leave a 1 - 2 inches gap to use.

  • Hold the end of the dental floss taut between your thumb and index finger.

  • Guide the dental floss gently between your teeth. Gently pull the dental floss back and forth across your teeth until some plaque covers it. 

  • Curve it into a C shape when the floss gets to your gums. That allows the floss to move into the space around your gums and teeth. Move the floss in up and down motion, away from the gum.

  • Repeat steps for each tooth using different parts of the floss. 

Should you floss every day?

Yes, it would be best to floss your teeth daily to prevent gum disease and improve tooth health. 

How many times should I floss?

The ADA recommends flossing once daily and brushing your teeth for at least two minutes, two times a day.

Although brushing and flossing work in tandem, research suggests it is best to floss first and then brush. Flossing first helps to loosen plaque and food debris while improving fluoride retention. Brushing then aids in cleaning away the plaque and debris you’ve scraped off.

Can floss damage gums?

If you follow the recommended flossing procedure, you won’t hurt your gums. Here are some flossing practices that may damage your gums:

  • Pulling the floss too hard between the teeth

  • Flossing too many times

  • Using the wrong type of floss

  • Flossing the gums instead of teeth  

Flossing teeth benefits

The main advantages of flossing include:

  • 1. Reduces bad breath: When food particles get stuck between your teeth, they decay over time. You will acquire bad breath if you don’t clean food particles between your teeth.

  • 2. Decreases plaque build-up: If you do not remove plaque from your teeth, it can build up to tartar. Flossing daily will remove and stop plaques and tartar forming around your teeth.

  • 3. Prevent gum disease: Oral hygiene is not only about cleaning the teeth; people usually overlook the gums as parts of oral health. A report by CDC shows that periodontal disease affects 47.2% of adults who are 30 years older and above. If you do not remove plaque, it can develop into tartar which causes gum disease. Flossing eliminates food particles and dental plaque, enhancing your gums’ health.

  • 4. Reduces risk of cavity: If you don’t floss and brush your teeth, plaque will eventually form between your teeth and gum line. Allowing the plaque to build up can produce even more acid, eating away at the tooth enamel and eventually causing cavities. 

  • 5. Good for your heart: Good dental hygiene is not just good for your teeth – there is a relationship between dental health and heart health. A study linked improved oral hygiene with a lower risk of developing atrial fibrillation and cardiovascular disorders. You should take the time to floss your teeth at least once a day as it is just as crucial to good oral health as brushing. If anything, you should floss in tandem with brushing. Flossing is great for keeping bad breath at bay, reducing plaque and gum disease, and may even minimize heart disorders. Call to make an appointment today with Brady Dental of Amarillo to get an expert lesson on how to floss.

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