Brushing your teeth alone is not enough to keep your mouth clean and prevent dental disease. Flossing is just as important as brushing when it comes to keeping your mouth healthy. In fact, the Australian Dental Association (ADA) suggests flossing at least once a day to promote total oral health.
It is all the more important to floss when you are wearing braces.
Flossing removes plaque from the areas of your teeth that your toothbrush cannot reach.
Dental plaque consists of various types of food debris and bacteria and it begins to accumulate on your teeth within minutes of eating. If you do not remove dental plaque daily, it can mineralise into calculus (tartar) which can then cause inflammation or disease.
Two common issues associated with not flossing include gingivitis (gum inflammation) and periodontitis (gum disease). Both of which can eventually lead to the loss of a once-healthy tooth. The tissue between your teeth where your toothbrush cannot access is highly prone to infection.
Flossing daily in addition to brushing your teeth will help you to maintain strong and healthy gums.
Make flossing a part of your daily routine so that you never forget to do it. If your mornings tend to feel busy and rushed, floss at night before bed. If you feel too tired to floss at the end of the day, make flossing a part of your daytime routine. In the end, it does not matter exactly when you floss. Whether you prefer to floss in the morning or evening, the most important thing is to do it at least once a day.
Anyone who has at least two teeth that touch each other on the sides needs to floss daily. When teeth neighbor each other this way, there is a narrow space between them which can only be cleaned by flossing.
This means that most people need to be flossing. Yes, even kids, too! As soon as your child has teeth in their mouth that touch each other, it is time to begin helping them floss. The sooner you make flossing a part of your child’s teeth-brushing routine, the quicker they will adapt to the new sensation. As mentioned earlier, flossing is especially important if you are having orthodontic treatment.
Braces and other orthodontic appliances provide extra surface areas in the mouth for dental plaque to grow on. Your teeth and gums are in close contact with these surfaces at all hours. If you do not floss regularly, your teeth and gums could have a high risk of developing oral diseases.
How to floss comfortably and efficiently:
Use a piece of floss that equals the length of your forearm from elbow to fingertip
Wrap both ends of the floss around your middle fingers until you have about 15 centimetres of floss between them
Use your forefingers and thumbs to manipulate the floss in the middle
Gently work a small section of floss between two teeth using a back-and-forth motion
After the floss has slipped past the point of contact between the two teeth, wrap it around the side of one tooth and hug it in a “C” shape
Move the floss up and down a few times while pulling it snugly against the tooth and ensure the floss dips down below the gumline as you do so
Switch teeth by pulling the floss in the opposite direction to wrap around the neighbouring tooth and clean that one similarly
Pull the floss up and out from between the two teeth and move on to the next space
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