What’s the Fuss About Floss?

If we’re being honest with ourselves, many of us don’t floss as often as we should. In fact, that is what a study about flossing conducted for the American Academy of Periodontology revealed in June.

What is with all the fuss about floss? There are many excuses given for why people don’t floss, and we’ll share some of those today. But there are numerous reasons why you need to floss daily, and we’re bring those to the forefront in this article, too.

Flossing is among the most low-tech, highly effective methods of keeping your teeth and gums healthy. And that’s a good thing. Think of all the money you can save by not buying those air- or water-flossing devices, when conventional floss works better anyway. 

A piece of floss pulled taut between your fingers and threaded between each tooth effectively removes plaque from the areas between your teeth where your toothbrush can’t reach, according to the American Dental Association. This is a necessary exercise because plaque that you don’t remove when brushing and flossing eventually hardens to become calculus or tartar. Flossing your teeth also helps keep gum disease and cavities at bay. Preventing gum disease is important because of its connection to other systemic health issues, including stroke and diabetes

In a nutshell, flossing helps promote good oral health and ultimately preserves facial aesthetics because it maintains healthy gum and bone structure in the mouth. 

There are toothbrush models that claim they can eliminate the need to floss, but don’t be fooled. No “flossing bristles” are capable of getting beneath the gum line the way good, old-fashioned dental floss can. At best, they can enhance your normal flossing routine. 

Also, don’t get hung up on trying to determine the best time to floss. There are camps that say it’s best to floss before, and others that say you should floss after brushing your teeth. 

“It doesn’t matter because it’s all good,” says Dr. Robert Walley. “Like the Nike commercial once told us, just do it.”

The American Dental Association has a great video on how to floss, which you can watch here

There’s No Excuse

Common excuses given for not flossing include:

        I don’t know how- please refer to the link above to learn how to floss effectively.

•       I don’t have time- if you don’t have time to floss, you surely don’t have time to spend in a dentist’s office having cavities filled or teeth pulled. Flossing doesn’t take long, so make time for it. Your teeth will thank you.

        My gums bleed every time I floss- this is a sign that you don’t floss enough, and it could mean that you have periodontal disease. Please call us for an appointment so we can conduct an exam. Gums shouldn’t bleed when you floss.

•       There’s no food stuck in my teeth- this isn’t the only reason for flossing. Remember, it’s about removing harmful bacteria.

•       I use toothpicks, and that’s the same thing – nope, it’s not even close. A toothpick may help remove food from between teeth, but it doesn’t go below the gum line to remove plaque.

        I have a fixed retainer, so flossing is even more time-consuming- we get it, but if you’ve gone through orthodontic treatment, you should floss regularly to protect your investment in your teeth. Get a floss threader to help you get the floss between teeth and beneath your retainer effectively. They work miracles, and you’ll be surprised how quickly you can floss with them once you get used to using them. 

We hope this information motivates you to break out the floss daily and keep those teeth and gums healthy. We never want you to feel bashful about your answer when we ask at your dental checkups how often you floss.