Is Flossing Your Teeth Necessary?


Periodontal disease and cavities require dentist visits, which can be costly. Flossing may not be typically voted as people's favorite part of their dental hygiene regimen. However, to reduce your risk of developing cavities and gum disease, you should incorporate daily flossing into your dental hygiene routine. 

In the end, the more proactive and committed you are to prevention, the fewer problems you'll have to deal with when it's time for your scheduled cleanings. However, the problem is that not enough people in the United States are making an effort to do so. 

The American Dental Association suggests using an interdental cleaner once daily (like floss). 

In small clinical investigations, researchers have shown moderate advantages associated with flossing. A study of 12 well-controlled research revealed, for instance, that flossing + brushing decreased gingivitis much more effectively than brushing alone. 

What is Flossing? 

We prefer the term "cleaning between your teeth" to describe what most people call "flossing" (or interdental cleaning). Floss is only one of several options for this daily habit. What's important is not whether or not you use floss but rather that you have a daily routine in which you thoroughly clean the spaces and sides of your teeth. 

There are potentially two primary ways in which maintaining good oral hygiene through interdental cleaning might benefit you. The first benefit is that it frees stuck garbage and food particles from hard-to-reach places. Second, it eliminates plaque off the sides of your teeth. Plaque is a significant contributor to several dental issues and should be removed regularly to maintain good oral health. 

How Can you Build the Habit of Daily Flossing? 

Don't stress if you don't like cleaning your teeth right now. To avoid future dental issues and keep your mouth looking great, now is the best time to establish a habit that you can stick to permanently. 

Do not give up on flossing because of any initial discomfort or bleeding. Plaque removal may minimize gingivitis and associated symptoms, so floss softly. 

  • Methods that have been successful in encouraging regular interdental cleaning include: 
  • The best results come from daily consistent interdental cleaning. Find a time that works well with your schedule and when you can give the task your full attention. 
  • Think about how a little bit of daily work may help your long-term oral health and prevent you from needing extensive dental work. 
  • The longer you stick to a routine, the simpler it will be to keep up. 

 Is Flossing Your Teeth Necessary?  

What happens if you don't floss? 

The American Dental Association suggests using an interdental cleaner (like floss) once daily. If you clean in between your teeth regularly, you may significantly reduce your risk of developing cavities and gum disease.  

"Every dentist in the country can look in someone's mouth and tell whether or not they floss,"

Dr. Tim Lafolla 

Cleaning between your teeth removes plaque, a sticky film. Plaque is full of microorganisms that thrive on food and sugar stuck in your mouth. When this occurs, an acid is produced that can erode the enamel of your teeth, leading to cavities. 

If you don't brush and floss regularly, the plaque on your teeth will solidify into tartar, which is quite difficult to brush off (or calculus). Tartar builds up at the gum line and can cause gum disease. Once tartar has formed, the only person who can remove it is your dentist. 

Using an interdental cleaner (such as floss) is crucial in maintaining healthy teeth and gums, despite widespread doubt about the necessity of doing so.  

In a statement issued in August 2016, the United States Department of Health and Human Services highlighted the importance of flossing as "an important oral hygiene practice." 

Types of Flossing Devices 

  • Flossing Devices: You can get many alternatives to flossing, like water flossers, which have become popular in recent years. Many people prefer water flossing to regular flossing since it's easier and more comfortable to use. Floss threaders, which make it simpler to clean in between your teeth, even with braces, are another alternative worth considering. 
  • Dental Picks: You may save time and effort by using dental picks instead of regular floss because the floss is already linked to the pick's plastic handle. These should not be reused since, even after washing, they will still be contaminated with microorganisms. 
  • Traditional Floss: Often known as string floss, it is sold on a long spool and can be waxed or unwaxed. Pieces may be taken out one at a time and threaded through your index fingers. 
  • Interdental Brush: A gadget like an interdental brush (like a little toothbrush) can be handy. If you have tiny spaces between your teeth, these small brushes help you better clean those places of your mouth that are otherwise difficult to access. 

How to Choose the Best Flossing Method? 

You might be tempted to use anything handy if you have something stuck in your teeth and need to get it out fast. Ipsos commissioned the ADA to conduct a study after learning that most Americans have resorted to using "unusual items." According to the study, Americans use items such as their fingernails (61%), folded paper or cards (40%), cutlery (21%, forks, knives, or spoons), safety pins (14%), and even strands of hair (7%), to free food from between their teeth

These products are not only less effective than regular flossing equipment, but they also pose health risks. When asked whether they experienced discomfort, 42% of persons who had used them to clean in between their teeth said they did. 

The fact that some people don't like to use floss suggests that this is a significant reason why they don't clean in between their teeth. Congratulations, if this is you! More options than ever exist in today's marketplace, allowing you to pick the approach that's right for you. 

The most effective method for cleaning in between your teeth is the one that you'll be able to use consistently. If you have an orthodontic appliance, can't reach certain areas, or just don't like one method, you can rest assured that there are others. Try out a few different approaches until you find one that works best. 

One Step at a Time 

The most critical aspect of interdental cleaning is actually to perform it. It doesn't matter when you do it, as long as you do it well.  If you're too tired to clean in between your teeth at the end of the day, you might consider doing it first thing in the morning or just after lunch. 

Kids need to floss too! The moment you see your child's first two teeth touching is the time to begin. Children often need to wait until they are 10 or 11 years old to clean between their teeth on their own effectively. It is because this task requires greater hand dexterity than younger children typically possess. 

Consult a dentist and try various methods to determine what works best for you. Dental tools, for instance, might help reach back into those tricky spaces. If you have problems flossing manually or have dental work, such as braces or a permanent or fixed bridge, that makes flossing difficult, a water flosser may be a viable alternative for you. If you can maintain this routine over time, you will successfully create a lifelong healthy habit. 

Also, always go with the ADA-approved option since you can rest certain of its quality and safety.

Contact your Walnut Creek dentist, Massood Darvishzadeh, at Walnut Creek Dental to learn about Flossing Your Teeth.


How To Properly Brush And Floss

*This media/content or any other on this website does not prescribe, recommend, or prevent any treatment or procedure. Therefore, we highly recommend that you get the advice of a qualified dentist or other medical practitioners regarding your specific dental condition*  

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