Posted .

Flossing Teeth: You Need to, and Here’s How to Do It

Fact: If you’re not flossing teeth, you’re missing out on 40% of teeth cleaning. And many people who do floss are doing it wrong. Here’s what you need to know.

It’s maybe the most dreaded question a patient can hear during a dental exam: “How often do you floss?”

Sure, it may be easier to say that you floss every day or a few times a week. While many people think there’s no harm in this white lie, flossing should never be left out of your dental routine.

When you skip out on flossing, you end up avoiding 40% of the cleaning that needs to be done to remove bacteria from your mouth!

The team at Manalese Dental knows that many people are guilty of skipping flossing every once in a while- that’s why we want to educate you on why you should make it a staple in your routine.

It’s true that we keep up to date on all the latest procedures and technology to keep your mouth healthy. We strive to provide our patients with top-of-the-line restorative procedures to bring their smiles back. But we also

But we also know that the little things matter! The first step towards keeping your mouth healthy is getting a good hygiene routine down, including flossing teeth, to keep other dental complications at bay.

We’ve put together this helpful guide on why you need to floss your teeth and how to do it right. Your reward for flossing? A great, healthy smile and a super fresh mouth every time!

Why flossing teeth is important

We know that many people skip out on flossing and that those people are missing out on 40% of the cleaning that needs to happen, so let’s talk about why it’s so important.

Don’t damage your dental health

32% of Americans have reported that they never floss, and 37% say that they brush sometimes. What are the consequences?

Not flossing teeth can cause a few issues, like gum disease and tooth decay– but let’s break this down even more.

Gum disease

When you allow food and plaque to accumulate on and between your teeth, you are creating the perfect storm for gum disease. This includes gingivitis and gum recession, which opens your teeth up to damage along the rooms.

Eventually, gum disease could cause you to lose your teeth and bone structure. It’s also been linked to even nastier consequences like heart disease, diabetes, kidney failure, and some cancers!t

Bad breath

This is a pretty simple one. Have you ever woken up in the morning and smelled something foul coming out of your mouth? That morning breath comes from the plaque and bacteria in your mouth flourishing overnight.

When you don’t floss, you are leaving quite a bit of bacteria in your mouth that should have been removed along with what your toothbrush brushes away. This bacteria leads to bad breath!

Birth defects

It’s a fact that dental hygiene is especially important for pregnant women. It turns out that the bacteria from a mother’s mouth can end up in the amniotic fluid that protects and feeds your baby.

Bad dental hygiene, like letting your mouth accumulate germs from not flossing, can result in problems for both the mother and unborn baby.

Tooth decay or loss

If you are one of those people who skip flossing teeth regularly, watch out for potential tooth decay or loss.

Since leaving bacteria between your teeth is linked to gum disease, it’s important to know that some studies have found that people are 46% more likely to lose a tooth that is surrounded by inflamed gum.

As a result of not flossing, cavities can also form between your teeth in the spaces where floss would typically remove plaque!

Flossing teeth the right way

Now that all that’s out of the way, we at Manalese Dental want to give you some great information on how to floss your teeth the right way to avoid dental problems!

The type of floss you should use

It’s probably not common knowledge that many different types of floss exist! It may not be the most exciting thing, but it’s good to know which type of floss is best for you.

For example, there is waxed and unwaxed floss, each offering different benefits. Waxed floss is able to slide between teeth easily and is more resistant to breaking while you push and pull it through our teeth. Unwaxed floss is more fragile but it can fit through tighter spaces in your mouth.

People also have the option of using dental threads, which can fit underneath dental implants, braces, and retainers to clean those hard-to-reach spots.

Many people also like to use devices that allow you to “floss” with water. Though these are great, be aware that these still don’t remove as much plaque as floss does!

How much floss is right

It may look like a lot, but you should be using 18 inches of floss to properly clean your mouth! And, it should not be reused.

Many people like to save money, but your dental health is not the place to do so. Using old floss over and over again can open your mouth to infection and other problems from reintroducing bacteria into your mouth.

You will want to move your floss along your fingers to use a clean stretch for each new tooth that you’re cleaning. At the end, you’ll notice that 18 inches is the right length to clean your gums without cross-contaminating your teeth!

Where should you be reaching

To get that proper, deep clean, you will want to make sure you are flossing between and behind each tooth.

This includes getting in and behind your rear molars, where plaque can accumulate. This is one spot where you can consider using floss alternates to help you reach the area better!

Be sure to floss between your teeth with and up and down motion to remove bacteria from between your teeth, but you should also slide the floss just underneath your gum line to clean that area.

If you have braces or permanent retainers

Even with braces or permanent retainers, flossing teeth should still be a priority!

Try using floss alternatives like floss threaders to get between and underneath your dental hardware. Pay close attention to the areas around your braces or retainer, since those devices can act like anchors for bacteria!

Questions? Get in touch.