As important as oral health is to our overall well-being, we really have a lax stance on participating to our fullest potential. One of the least favorite of these little dental chores is flossing. Not only did a survey conducted by the American Dental Association revealed that more adult would rather do something they find awful than floss, but the amount of times they floss is the biggest lie dentists hear on a day-to-day basis. But why do we find it so similar to our own daily torture? It’s the forgotten hygiene. Either we’re too busy or we are too lazy, but flossing has become the “Do I have to?” of the dental world. And unfortunately, flossing is much more important than we think.
Flossing is merely the act of wrapping a piece of string around your teeth, one by one, in order to remove any bacteria and excess material stuck between each tooth. In its conception, floss was made from strands of silk (fancy!), but nowadays it comes from thin filament cord. There are varying thicknesses and varieties to choose from, depending on preference. Some are waxed, some are electric or water-based. There are also handy tools available on the market that help facilitate you in flossing properly, whether you need help reaching all of your teeth or working your way around complicated dental work, like braces. So no matter your reason for avoiding the floss, it isn’t a good one.
Even the process itself is relatively simple. Cut yourself a piece of floss about 18 inches long. Wrap both sides around your fingers until you have a good two inches separating either side. Pull it taut between your thumb and index finger and guide the floss in between each tooth. With a downward zigzag motion, slide the floss around each tooth in a curved motion, reminiscent to a shoe shine fella’s rag. What you’re trying to do is gently scrub down all the space between your teeth that your toothbrush can’t reach.
Now beyond that, there aren’t a whole lot of rules. Use a new area of floss for every tooth, don’t snap or flick the floss between your teeth (it isn’t good for your teeth and it’s gross), and always use a new piece each time you floss. No particular order necessary to do it right. Work from top to bottom or vice versa. Floss before you brush your teeth or after. You just want to get the cleanest mouth you possibly can each time you clean those pearly whites so that bacteria can’t glom onto your teeth and give you cavities or some other kind of gum disease while you aren’t looking. Preventative measures lead to fewer emergency dental visits.
For more information about flossing or other aspects of general dentistry call Dr. Middleton in Riverside, CA at (951) 688-3442 or visit www.gmdental.com.
Dr. Middleton proudly accepts patients from Riverside, Corona, San Bernardino, Redlands, Moreno Valley, Lake Elsinore and all surrounding areas.