Do I really need to floss my teeth?
If you are wondering why the dental hygienist keeps nagging you about flossing,and want the real lowdown on whether it’s really as necessary as she says it is. Keep reading. After all most patients admit to not flossing anyway, what is the big deal, right? And Listerine made the statement that rinsing with Listerine is as effective as flossing - anyone remember that commercial? The statistics on who doesn’t floss may be as shocking as the statistic on who has gum disease. According to data from the Center for Disease control from 2009/2010, half of Americans adults have mild, moderate to severe gum disease. That is a lot of people. No wonder the need for implants is steady if not rising. Gum disease is the number one cause of tooth loss in adults. It is the reason why most people with dentures have them. But what does this have to do with flossing?
Flossing is all about gum care. There is an area at the edge of your tooth and gum that plaque can get stuck in and if it is not removed it will irritate and infect the gum tissue. 2 out of the 4 sides of a tooth can be cleaned by brushing at the gum line. That is only half of the sides of the tooth. HALF. The other two sides do not get cleaned unless you floss. What if you only cleaned half of your shower? I bet the half that you did not clean after you used it everyday would get pretty nasty after 6 months, but what about a couple of years? You might need a new shower. That is what happens to teeth. The bone around the tooth is so disgusted with the grime building up between the teeth that it heads south and eventually you will need a new tooth, or at least new bone around the tooth.
how to floss effectively
I hope that you now understand why flossing is important, but that is only half of the puzzle. Flossing can be COMPLETELY ineffective it it is not done properly. So how complicated can flossing be? It is not complicated at all. Neither is driving, but if you do it wrong, you don’t get the desired result. You could still end up in a ditch.
So how do you do it right? There is a triangle of gums that should fill an area between the teeth, if the bone and gums haven’t already gone south and the area is filled with calcium deposits like this:
The floss must pop between the teeth where they touch - that is what most people who floss think this ends. The most important part comes next. You have the take the floss and hug the tooth in front and scrape the tooth up and down with the floss, going under the gums until the gums stop you. Then you take the floss and hug the other tooth on the other side of the triangle and scrape up and down, then pop the floss back up between the teeth.
If your gums bleed, that is because they are mad at you for not flossing properly before and you need to get to the dentist for a cleaning ASAP. If you want to know just how nasty things are between your teeth, and I know this is gross, smell the floss. EW
The good news is, if you will get your teeth cleaned. You can start at square one. If you make flossing a habit, it won’t be so disgusting with all the germs and their waste hanging out between your teeth and when you floss it won’t smell so bad. The best part about it, your gums will be healthy and won’t start heading south.