Flossing plays a vital role in maintaining your oral hygiene by removing plaque and trapped food from between your teeth and under your gums. Of course, you know that because your parents and dentist have been telling you for years how important flossing is.
Despite that, more than half of the population of Australia don’t floss daily; with laziness cited as the main reason. If you don’t floss and are experiencing bad breath, decay or bleeding gums, lack of daily flossing may well be the reason why.
Cavities and gum disease are preventable and there is a lot of evidence that poor dental hygiene is linked to other health problems. By taking an extra minute out of your day to floss, you can dramatically reduce your risk of developing a variety of health problems.
Without flossing, cavities can easily build up between teeth. It can take a while before you notice a cavity has developed, and in some cases it will be too late to save the tooth and it will need to be removed. Gum disease is a process where bacteria attack the attachment of your tooth to your bone, which can lead to loose teeth and sometimes tooth loss.
Flossing daily dramatically reduces your chances of developing gum disease. If your gums bleed when you brush, it may be sign you have gingivitis which can develop into gum disease if it isn’t addressed. Gingivitis is a reaction from plaque building up between your teeth and gums.
New studies are beginning to find links between poor oral health and an increased risk of heart disease. Gum disease allows more bacteria to penetrate the blood stream and these bacteria can make their way through the blood vessels and into the heart.
Similarly, links have been found between poor oral hygiene and insulin resistance. It is known that diabetics are more likely to have gum disease, and that if their diabetes is poorly controlled their gum disease will worsen, and if their gum disease is poorly controlled their diabetes will worsen. While the science behind this is not fully understood, it’s certainly worth reducing risks where possible.
Many Australians suffer from bad breath. The main cause of bad breath is gum disease. The bacteria that cause gum disease are termed anaerobic bacteria, meaning they live in areas with limited availability of oxygen. Underneath the gum is a perfect place for these bacteria, and they give off a strong, unpleasant smell.
Why Flossing Correctly is Important
Hopefully, this has motivated you to floss daily. Now you should perfect your flossing technique.
Dental tapes are preferable to dental floss, so look out for these in your supermarket or chemist. Use about a 20cm piece of dental tape, wrap it round your fingers so that one finger is behind the tooth and one is in front and the dental tape is perpendicular to the row of teeth. Curve the floss around your tooth and move it gently up and down, making sure to go approximately 2mm below the gums. Then curve around the tooth on the other side of the gap and repeat the procedure for all teeth. Don’t be alarmed if the gums bleed initially. This is a sign of gum disease and should reduce and you continue flossing regularly.
Curve the floss around your tooth and move it gently up and down, making sure to go approximately 2mm below the gums. Then curve around the tooth on the other side of the gap and repeat the procedure for all teeth. Don’t be alarmed if the gums bleed initially. This is a sign of gum disease and should reduce and you continue flossing regularly.
Remember that it’s never too late to start taking better care of your oral health. If you are experiencing any problems with your teeth or gums, come see Dr Edwina Toulmin at her North Sydney dentistry rooms. Book an appointment or get in touch with the McMahons Point Health team today.