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Why Should I Floss My Teeth?

 

I hate flossing my teeth and understand how annoying and inconvenient this habit is. At night, I am tired, and flossing “takes forever”.Ā 

We often use excuses, such as:

  • I can’t do it right. Refer to the instructions above.
  • I can’t get between my teeth. Try waxed or unwaxed flosses and/or floss threaders, all available at your local grocery/drugstore.Ā 
  • I forget. A reminder in your cell phone will prod you to floss before you get too tired at the end of the day.
  • My gums bleed when I floss. Rather than not flossing because your gums bleed, gently continue. Over time the bleeding will decrease and then stop when you gloss. Bleeding is an indicator that you should be flossing more.Ā 
  • I don’t have the time. If you do not have time now, you will find time later when you are in the hospital recovering from a heart attack. šŸ™‚
  • I use mouthwash. Unfortunately, a rinse will not replace the physical cleaning of teeth.Ā 
  • I don’t want to stir up the germs. Rinsing, once you have completed flossing and brushing, will eliminate the majority of the germs. Easy, peasy.Ā 

However, not flossing:

  1. Allows harmful bacteria and plaque to grow in your mouth
  2. Leads to gingivitis, gum disease and cavities
  3. Leads to bone loss; bone holds your teeth in place


Before you ditch the flossing habit altogether, here are reasons why you should floss your teeth :

  1. Flossing removes 40% of the bacteria and plaque in your mouth. Without flossing, you only clean three of your teeth’ five surfaces, increase plaque buildup, and risk swollen gums and gum disease.Ā 
  2. Flossing prevents gingivitis, the precursor to gum disease. Healthy gums generally do not bleed when you brush or floss. If gums are bleeding, it means you need to brush and floss more frequently.Ā 
  3. Flossing improves your overall health. Strokes, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, respiratory disease, and heart disease are linked to gum health and periodontitis. So if you keep the plaque in check, your overall health is going to be better.Ā 
  4. Flossing is inexpensive, proactive self-care. It does not matter when you do it; just be consistent! Do it daily–when in the shower, watching TV, balancing on one foot, looking at the stars, counting your blessings… And the list goes on. Watching TV is my favourite time–because I know that I will consistently be doing that. šŸ™‚
  5. Flossing improves your smile. Who can resist better breath, whiter teeth, and a confident smile!

A couple of extra minutes will increase overall health–an easy commitment to yourself and your body!

HOW TO FLOSS:

  1. Wind 12 to 18 inches of dental floss around each middle finger, leaving an inch or two of floss with which to work.
  2. Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and index fingers, then slide the floss in between your teeth.
  3. Hold the floss against one of the surfaces of one of your teeth, creating a C-shape with the floss.
  4. Scrape up and down against the entire tooth surface, going under the gums as far as you can.
  5. Repeat this step by hugging the floss against the surface of the other tooth between which you are working.
  6. Gently slide the floss up to remove the floss.
  7. Move tooth-to-tooth repeating this process, using a clean section of floss for each area. Remember the backsides of your molars and the sides of teeth that don’t have neighbouring teeth.


If you have questions about your oral health or proper flossing technique, request an appointment with Kesteven Dental Care by calling 604-826-8087 or emailing drkesteven@shaw.ca. We are happy to find the best ways to care for your oral health. ā€‹ā€‹ā€‹ā€‹ā€‹

By Lori Kesteven