The Benefits of Flossing Your Teeth
What Are the Benefits Of Flossing Your Teeth?
The regular use of dental floss removes food particles preventing the buildup of plaque, which may lead to calculus. By flossing your teeth, it can brighten them smile by improving the appearance of your gingiva and removing any food particles around your teeth.
Thinking about your carpet, we vacuum to remove all the dust and dirt we cannot visually see, which leaves it looking brighter. Now we can apply the same principal to flossing your teeth, where removing all the small food particles from between your teeth will generally have the same affect (brushing included).
There are so many benefits to daily flossing other than healthy teeth and in fact, there’s an increasing amount of evidence linking periodontal (gum) disease to an increased risk of heart disease. By having an infection in the body like gum infections, it can lead to increased levels of inflammatory substances in the blood, which can promote blood clots and slow blood flow to the heart. Further studies are required however there has been links that bacteria from mouth infections can enter the bloodstream easily and effect your cardiovascular (heart) system.
It also aids to prevent tooth decay as the bacteria can use the retained food particles between your teeth as an energy fuel to break down your teeth. Also flossing can reduce your risk of developing gum disease by removing plaque.
How Does Flossing Help Your Gums?
Brushing twice daily is essential for good oral hygiene, however brushing only reaches 3 surfaces of the tooth, thus flossing daily is important to reach the remaining two surfaces to prevent periodontal disease and tooth decay.
The main reason many people avoid flossing, is due to the fear the gums hurt and bleed. However, this is a sign the gums are unhealthy and by continual flossing, this will reduce inflammation and in turn stops bleeding, reduces pain and reducing tooth sensitivity.
You’re never too old to start flossing. A study comparing the effects of brushing only vs. brushing and flossing on bleeding gums in 2006 used 51 sets of twins where one of each twin pair brushed twice a day and the other brushed and flossed twice a day. The twins who flossed showed after two week a 38 percent reduction in bleeding gum spots.
Flossing is vital to your smile’s health, no matter what your age, even kids should floss to get used to a healthy oral care routine (5-7years of age).
What Type of products can I use to floss?
The most common form of flossing is dental string floss. It comes in 2 fabrics, waxed and satin. I find waxed floss to be more effective in removing food particles due to its sticky nature and allows for easier handling. However, if you have tight contacts or your gums are sensitive, the softer and thinner option is satin floss. The downside of using satin floss, is it is more difficult to handle due to its slippery nature. The alternative to string floss is a flossette. It is great for those that find handling string difficult or reaching some areas more challenging with your fingers.
What we call ‘bottle brushes’, are fantastic for those patients that have difficultly using floss, large gaps between their teeth or an orthodontic fixed dental wire on the back for their front teeth. These come in multiple sizes from 00 to 10, which is adaptable to everyone’s space size. There should be slight resistance during use, however if its painful it may indicate the brush is too large. Consult your dentist if you find it hard to choose the correct size.
Similar to stringed floss, super floss is made by Oral-B and comes in single portions. Oral-B Super Floss is ideal for cleaning braces, bridges and wide gaps between teeth. Its three unique components—a stiffened-end dental floss threader, spongy floss and regular floss—all work together for maximum benefits.
Mechanical Flosser – Waterpik and Philips Airflosser
The Waterpik is an easy and effective way to clean between teeth. It uses high pressured continues water to clean food particles at the gum level or between your teeth. You just point the flosser tip between your teeth and along the gumline, and let it do all the work for you. Due to its gentle nature, the Waterpik is excellent for dental implants, orthodontics, bridges and general cleaning.
The Philips airfloss uses bursts of air and water to clean between your teeth, without the hassle of regular floss. This is more aimed at flossing only where the waterpik is aimed at brushing and flossing.
The results are clinically proven – Water Flossing is up to 50% more effective than string floss and up to 80% more effective than Sonicare Air Floss for improving gum health.
Our summary of flossing
Dr Matthew Salameh
Haberfield Dental Practice