Selecting a dental floss is not as important as know “How To Floss Your Teeth”
In researching this blog, I found several videos modeling how to floss, I choose a digital version because I’m squeamish. Before we get to the video of how to floss your teeth, let’s talk about the function of dental floss:
- Flossing cleans the tight space in between your teeth where bacteria gets caught
- Flossing cleans the bacteria from the space between your teeth and gums
- Flossing strengthens your gums. Healthy gums allow for better future tooth health, and will help protect the roots.
When I was a child I hated the thought of flossing. Wrapping it around your fingers, jamming your fingers in your mouth, getting spit all over. Then my gums would hurt and bleed. No FUN! Well times have changed.
Floss is now sold in classic, flossers (the sticks) and tape. Due to my ease and enjoyment of using toothpicks, I like the flossers. My kids also prefer these because you don’t have to do hand acrobatics to get the job done.
- Classic floss: The often waxy “fishing line” that comes in plain or mint; single or multi-strand
- Flossing sticks: Classic floss mounted on a handle for easy one time use
- Dental tape: A thicker fabric like line sold in a spool like classic floss. I find this product to be as effective, simply gentler.
Which ever type you choose, the key is, do it every day. I like to use the flossers after meals even when I don’t feel like brushing. Is that wrong to say?
1. If you’re going to pick between brushing and flossing, FLOSS!!! Yes, I said it … FLOSS! I know it sounds contradictory but the bacteria in between your teeth can cause way more damage than the plaque and bacteria on the front and back of your teeth. Your saliva, tongue and other foods take care of removing most of that. But in between teeth, food, bacteria, and plaque only come off with flossing.
2. A lot of times people will tell me they don’t floss because it causes their gums to bleed. What they don’t know is that healthy gums don’t have enough of a blood supply to bleed, no matter how hard you brush or floss. I can go in between healthy gums with a sharp dental instrument and they not only don’t bleed, they aren’t even tender. Unhealthy gums have too much blood in them so they bleed. Your body sends blood to your gums to fight off the infection and bacteria. The problem is your body senses your tooth as the infection for all practical purposes and tries to get rid of your tooth (hence bone loss around the tooth and eventual tooth loss if not treated). The more you floss, the healthier your gums get, the less they bleed!
3. Did you know that if a person gets a human bite, we don’t close the wound? A dog bite would be stitched up, but the human mouth has so much bacteria that it can cause sepsis and shock if you close that bacteria inside the body. When you have bleeding gums, it’s like an open window for this bacteria to get into your blood stream. The bacteria then travels throughout your body, increasing your chances of heart disease, compromising your immune system, and possibly causing an infection in the lining of your heart, which can be deadly!
4. If you are pregnant, the bacteria that causes gingivitis (which comes from not flossing) can cause low birth weight babies and more complications during pregnancy.
5. Ideally, you should floss at night, but as long as you floss once every 24 hours, in most cases, your gums and teeth will be protected. There’s always a perfect time to floss – most of us are stuck in traffic during the day, or on hold on a phone at some point. Sure, it’s not sexy, but who’s watching? And it’s way sexier to have a clean, non-smelly mouth!