Since childhood, you’ve probably heard about how important it is to floss on a regular basis, but did you know that it does far more than just remove food particles from between your teeth? Your dentist in River Oaks weighs in to explain the many benefits of flossing and why it’s significant in maintaining both your oral health and smile.
What’s the Purpose of Flossing?
As mentioned above, flossing doesn’t just remove food wedged between your teeth; it also factors greatly in your gum health. It all boils down to bacteria – the primary nemesis of maintaining dental wellness.
When you eat, there will naturally be some residue left of the foods and beverages (if other than water) you’ve consumed. The problem is that bacteria are attracted to these remaining particles. They seek the sugars left from the decaying substances and feed on them, and if not addressed, they can fester into troublesome issues, such as:
- Tooth Decay
- Gum Disease
- Tooth Loss
- Higher Susceptibility to Oral Cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease and Pancreatic Cancer
Flossing helps to prevent these serious issues by cleaning the areas that your toothbrush can’t.
But Isn’t Brushing Enough?
A common misconception is that brushing your teeth thoroughly is sufficient to maintain healthy teeth and gums. The truth is that, even with your best efforts, you can only clean 60 percent of the surface of your teeth with a toothbrush. Thus, your flossing regimen is of equal importance as your brushing habits.
Can Flossing Impact the Look of Your Smile?
There are two main ways that flossing plays a huge role in allowing you to maintain a beautiful smile:
- Plaque Removal – From a more functional perspective, your flossing habits are key in fighting bacteria, as we’ve discovered. It also fulfills an aesthetic desire, because tooth decay leaves severe visible traces over time. It’s common in these cases for teeth to be black or brown, so improved oral hygiene is a “win-win,” because it serves several purposes in one application.
- Fighting Stains – Flossing also serves as a major foe of food and beverage stains. Again, it’s because of the thin piece of floss’s ability to penetrate the tight space between the teeth. In doing so, it’s able to address 40 percent of the cause of discolored teeth.
How Often Should You Floss?
The minimum amount of time that you should floss is two times a day, but to see the maximum results, you should brush and floss after every meal and at night before retiring for bed. In doing so, you’ll enjoy more pleasant visits with your family dentist in River Oaks and beautifully looking, fully functioning teeth.
About the Author
Dr. John H. Krell has nearly 30 years of experience practicing dentistry, yet he remains driven to stay abreast of the latest changes in the field. Thus, he pursues continuing education hours to expand his knowledge. Dr. Krell graduated from the dental school at the University of Texas and has earned the Fellowship Award with the American Academy of General Dentistry. He can be reached for more information through his website.