You know how it goes: you visit the dental office, and your dentist tells you to floss more often. Perhaps your dentist finds a spot of mild gum disease, giving you even more reason to start flossing regularly. The truth is, you really can’t maintain long-term oral health without flossing. Brushing and using mouthwash play a big role in a healthy smile, but nothing gets between teeth and below the gum line like flossing.
Part of the problem for some is that they don’t know how to floss properly. Many people think they’re supposed to pop the floss in and out between teeth and use the floss as a way to simply dislodge pieces of food that have become stuck. In reality, flossing helps remove the invisible bacteria that live on your teeth and around your gums. That’s why flossing every day is so vital. You might not see anything on the string of floss when you’re done, but that doesn’t mean the floss isn’t working. In fact, flossing regularly can help you avoid the buildup of that white, gooey stuff (a mixture of mucus and bacteria known as materia alba to your dentist) that you might sometimes see on your floss if it’s been a while.
So, now that you know why you should floss every day (yes — every day!), let’s talk about the best techniques to get the job done well. (more…)