Even though it is important, many people fail to add flossing to a daily part of their personal oral care. If you want to maintain a healthy mouth and teeth, you will need to add this step right away. It can extend the life of your smile and add years to your teeth.

About Oral Bacteria

In every one’s mouth, there are hundreds of different kinds of bacteria. It is normal and part of the flora that is always there. Some of the bacteria will produce acid each time it comes in contact with sugar. This acid will produce cavities and gum disease if not removed often enough.

A toothbrush will remove much of the bacteria that form as plaque on your teeth. It is easily removed by a toothbrush, but you need to use your toothbrush at least two times a day and for a minimum of two minutes each time to do a good job.

The problem with a toothbrush, though, is that it cannot remove the plaque that forms in between your teeth. Only dental floss can do that. Leaving it on your teeth means that the plaque and acid have more time to damage your enamel and will sooner or later cause cavities and gum disease.

Gum Disease

When plaque is not removed it will become hard – forming tartar. Your toothbrush will not be able to remove it. Tartar forms above and below the gum line and the harmful bacteria love to hide in it. Now the bacteria and acid are in your gums and it will trigger an immune reaction – starting gum disease.

Gingivitis is the gum disease that will happen first. It is mild, but it will cause your gums to be inflamed and they will bleed when you brush or floss. If you brush twice a day and floss, it will get rid of it. The next stage is periodontitis. This means it is in your gums and now you cannot remove it on your own. You will need the help of a dentist. Periodontitis will destroy your gums, the ligaments that support your teeth and your jawbone – eventually causing your teeth to fall out. It is the primary cause of tooth loss in adults today.

Flossing Technique

When you are going to floss, break off about 15 to 18 inches of floss. Wind most of it on one of your middle fingers and then a little on the other middle finger. You will unwind the fresh floss from one finger, and wind up the used floss on the other. With about one inch between your fingers, pull it tight and then apply it between your teeth to the gum line. Curve it so that it forms a “C” and then pull it upward to scrape off the plaque. Use a gentle back and forth motion. Do it for all your teeth on each side.

The friendly dentists at Bright White Dental can help you and your family members learn a correct flossing technique. We treat patients of all ages and provide preventive dentistry.