At Hogan Family Dental, we answer a variety of questions each week regarding dental floss. Dental floss is a thin strand of nylon or plastic used to clean between teeth with the goal to improve both oral and systemic (overall body) health. Cleaning between your teeth regularly is an important part of a comprehensive dental hygiene routine.
A cute slogan reads, “You don’t have to floss all of your teeth, just the ones you want to keep!” Dental floss is meant to clean between teeth that touch. The majority of us have teeth that touch. Children with a mixture of both adult and baby teeth are an exception. Their toothbrushes will easily clean the larger spaces present when teeth are lost. The benefits of flossing are numerous.
Flossing helps remove food particles between your teeth. As we age, interdental spaces (the small space between your teeth that is occupied by dental gums) tend to get larger. When this happens, food particles become stuck in those spots and are usually unsightly (think broccoli). Floss is a wonderful tool to remove food particles that get stuck in those areas, keeping your smile looking its best.
Flossing removes the bacteria that become embedded under your gums between your teeth. Regular flossing removes the attached bacteria, reduces the risk of gum disease, and reduces the formation of cavities between teeth.
Flossing tightens your gums and helps create a healthy and beautiful smile. If you avoid dental floss, you may notice some staining when you look in the mirror at the region between your teeth. Dental stain can occur from smoking, drinking beverages like coffee, tea, or wine, and using certain types of mouth rinses. The evidence of dental stain between your teeth indicates a need for regular flossing.
Removes Stained Particles
Flossing away the staining particles will also remove the bacterial biofilm that builds between your teeth. In addition, flossing and brushing combined will remove most of the bacteria in your mouth that cause bad breath. Patients will experience fresher breath when they brush and floss regularly, which everyone can appreciate!
Some patients have larger interdental spaces (gaps between teeth at the gumline area). Using other types of interdental cleaners may be more effective than traditional dental floss. These dental aids serve a similar function to remove plaque, embedded food particles, and bacteria. Many people find interdental cleaners easy to use, handy to keep in a pocket or purse, and comfortable to hold.
Making Flossing a Habit
If you are ready to make dental flossing a regular habit, we have a few tips as you start. First, if you haven’t flossed in some time, flossing may be uncomfortable and your gums may bleed. This is normal and will usually stop within two weeks of developing a regular flossing habit. Second, be bold and ask your dental hygienist or dentist how to floss correctly. This will make his or her day! If you would like to learn how to floss more effectively from the comfort of your own home, please visit watch this instructional video. Third, you will experience the best results when you are consistent and thorough. Finally, be patient with yourself and stick with it! We hope your dentist congratulates you at your next check-up and reports you are CAVITY FREE!
We would be happy to help in any way when it comes to attaining excellent oral health. Call Hogan Family Dental today at (406) 234-2926; we want every patient to have the smile they long for and deserve!