Author Sloane Crossley said, “Uniqueness is wasted on youth. Like fine wine or a solid flossing habit, you’ll be grateful for it when you’re older”.
There are many reasons why you’ll be grateful for flossing, in the present and future; this article hopes to turn you into a daily flosser by exploring the reasons flossing is important.
- FLOSSING REMOVES PLAQUE
There are some plaque and bacteria in your mouth you can’t reach with the toothbrush alone. In fact, you’re missing out on cleaning one-third of your tooth’s surface by not flossing. Plaque is an invisible film made up of bacteria that develops on your teeth every day. It’s the leading cause of gum disease, leading to damage of the soft tissue in your mouth.
If left long enough, plaque can destroy the bone that supports your teeth, which leads to tooth loss. Often referred to as “peridontitis”, gum disease is common and mostly preventable. It’s the result of poor oral hygiene, including a lack of flossing.
- PLAQUE TURNS INTO TARTAR
Within 24-36 hours, plaque hardens into tartar. Essentially a mass of bacteria, saliva, and proteins, hardened into a film on the teeth. It spreads from the visible portion of your tooth up under the gums to your the roots.
Once plaque turns into tartar, it can only be removed by a hygienist, this is why flossing daily is important. There are potions on the internet involving vinegar and saltwater. As you can imagine it’s a pretty gross mixture but people put themselves through it, hoping it will make a difference. It won’t.
The more tartar that builds up, the harder it is for the hygienist to remove it. This excess tartar will also inflame your gums and make your whole mouth tender; so when you do go to the dentist, it takes upwards of an hour to fully remove the tartar. The inflamed gums make the procedure extra painful. A topical or local anesthetic is sometimes recommended for patients with excessive tartar build up. The truth is however, that your teeth should never get to the point where tartar is forming, let alone to that extent.
Flossing once a day is important, because ensure’s you remove the plaque in that 24-36 hour window, before it turns into tartar.
FLOSSING PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS
- BLEEDING GUMS. When you first start flossing, it’s natural for your teeth to bleed a little bit. Some people get frustrated by this, since it’s a bit of a catch 22… Your gums are inflamed because you haven’t been flossing, so you start flossing but it hurts too much. You need to keep flossing though, otherwise the problem will just get worse. If after two weeks your gums are still irritated or bleeding, then you should definitely check in with your dentist.
- TEETH ARE TOO CLOSE. Sometimes floss can shred if you snag it on the edge of a tooth,or try to wedge it between two teeth. It may take some experimenting to find the right floss for you, waxed is often better if you do face some tight spaces. Experiment with the thickness of your floss as-well.
- CAN’T REACH THE BACK TEETH. This is a valid issue for some people, unable to fit their fingers to their back molars. Some patients will floss just the front, where they can reach, hoping it’s enough. It’s not. Instead try a flossholder; a small piece of plastic with a short handle that makes it easy to reach the back teeth with one hand.