Flossing: The Most Underrated Dental Hygiene Habit

February 28, 2023 - By Bruce Michaelson
Flossing: The Most Underrated Dental Hygiene Habit

Have you ever wondered why your dentist asks about your flossing routine during check-ups? Or have you heard of your friends and family talking about flossing as part of their dental routine?

“Flossing” is a very common terminology used in almost every dental discussion, especially those that matter oral or dental care. The truth is that flossing plays a crucial role in keeping your dental and overall oral health in check. This article will list down this most underrated dental hygiene habit and its importance.

What Is It?

Flossing is a technique that helps you eliminate all the food bits, plaque, and bacteria lingering between the tiny gaps in your teeth. In other words, it is the process of removing and dislodging food particles, plaque, and bacteria from the spaces in between your teeth. It is done using a thread-like tool called the “floss.”

Even if you brush your teeth thoroughly and follow a strict twice-a-day brushing routine, you still cannot entirely clean or even reach those in-between your teeth spaces. In worse cases, all of the stuff that stays lodged in between the teeth can take a toll on the appearance of your teeth over time.

Although the floss looks like thread, it is specially made with a soft texture and gum-friendly features. Normal threads have a rough texture that may harm the teeth when not done carefully and can also break easily and get stuck between the teeth.

Consequences Of Overlooking Flossing

Overlooking flossing as part of your dental routine may adequately contribute to the following,

Tartar

Not flossing can accumulate plaque on the teeth, causing them to harden over time and convert to tartar. Once this happens, you will not be able to clean it on your own and will require the help of a dentist or dental hygienist.

Gum Disease

Plaque and tartar combined can make your gums sensitive, making them inflamed and red. While early stages of gum disease (also known as gingivitis) are quite reversible, later stages are also known as periodontitis.

Cavities

Tooth decay resulting from plaque can create holes (also known as dental caries) in the teeth’s outer layer- known as enamel. When left untreated, they can cause pain, infection, and other oral health problems.

Chronic Disease

Sometimes you might have noticed that your gums bleed when you brush. This is actually a sign of gingivitis and poor flossing routine. With time gingivitis can allow plaque and bacteria to enter the bloodstream, causing plaque buildup in vessels and possibly heart disease.

People with gum diseases have a higher chance of up to 20% developing heart conditions and, in some cases, causing chronic health conditions like respiratory disease, diabetes, coronary artery disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Not flossing can build up plaque to unhealthy levels causing bad breath. In the long run, these plaque and food particles can accumulate between the teeth making your teeth look pale and stained, which can only be properly restored through teeth whitening treatments.

If you plan to incorporate flossing into your dental hygiene routine, practice brushing twice and flossing once daily. You should ideally floss first and then brush, not the other way around. This is because flossing helps lift and release the food particles and plaque sticking between the teeth. If you brush first and then floss, these particles will remain in your mouthline until the next time you brush.

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