While a dentist’s professional cleaning can get you well on your way to good oral health, certain practices must be kept up at home, where the majority of your dental care happens. Dr. Jue recommends brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and avoiding sugary sodas and smoking. But let’s spend some time on everyone’s favorite item in the list: flossing.
Did a guilty feeling just come over you? You’re not alone. A 2008 study showed that under 50% of the U.S. population flosses daily. This is bad news, because dentists say that flossing is even more important than brushing when it comes to preventing periodontal (gum) disease and tooth loss.
That’s right — flossing is not primarily about removing that broccoli between your teeth; it’s more about getting rid of the gum disease-causing plaque between your teeth and near the gumline. Flossing also polishes your teeth and fights bad breath (especially when you choose the minty kind).
Don’t floss regularly? Decide right now to floss once a day for at least one minute. Make a habit out it by placing floss near your toothbrush and toothpaste so you have a visual reminder. Don’t know how to floss properly? Check out the ADHA’s instructions. As you floss, don’t forget the back molars—they’re harder to reach, but dentists say they often harbor the most bacteria.
If traditional flossing is difficult for you, try floss holders. These nifty little plastic flossers are disposable and often come in re-sealable bags you can take with you on the go. They only require the use of one hand.
As we like to say here at A Beautiful Smile, “Floss only the teeth you want to keep!”