Many people reach for the dental floss only when they need to remove something particularly stubborn, like a piece of popcorn, from between their teeth. Unfortunately, by failing to floss regularly they are missing out on a whole host of oral care benefits.
Flossing removes food particles and plaque from between the teeth. In the process, it helps prevent bad breath and gum disease. And because an excess of bacteria in the mouth has been linked to a number of medical issues including heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes, flossing is good for more than just your oral health.
Here are some facts you should know about flossing:
- You only need to floss once a day to improve your oral health.
- While most people say that “time” is the primary reason they don’t floss, a good flossing only takes 2-3 minutes.
- You should use a clean section of floss between each pair of teeth so that you don’t transfer bacteria from one spot to another. Consequently, you should plan on using 18 to 20 inches of floss per session.
- A good trick for helping yourself stay with a flossing routine is to keep some floss in your car. It’s easy to do a quick flossing there, and you even have a mirror handy.
- Floss comes in waxed and unwaxed versions. Waxed floss can be easier to slip between teeth that are closely spaced.
- Unwaxed dental floss makes a squeaking sound when gliding over teeth indicating that plaque has been removed.
- Floss comes in a wide range of flavors, including everything from bubblegum to bacon!
- Flossing any time is better than not flossing at all, but flossing before you brush may help the fluoride from your toothpaste make its way between your teeth.
- Brushing your teeth only cleans around 70% of their surface. Imagine showering only 70 percent of your body.
- Alternatives to flossing (using a toothpick between your teeth, for example) will work in a pinch, but nothing beats the plaque-removing power of floss.
So, flossing isn’t just for removing visible food chunks. It is a key component of an effective oral hygiene routine. Taking a few minutes once or twice a day to floss can have a significant positive impact not just on the health of your mouth, but on the wellness of your entire body. Flossing even 2-3 times a week can give you a cleaner, healthier, fresher mouth. Don’t let that floss dispenser gather dust in your bathroom drawer. Show your mouth some love and you’ll love the results!