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Flossing Is A Must, Not Merely a Consideration

Even though we’ve heard throughout our lives that brushing a minimum of twice daily will provide us with good dental health, that was slightly inaccurate. Dental professionals and researchers now know that we need to floss as well as brush if we’re to maximize the dental benefits from our daily routine. Not only does this single strand of floss work wonders with our dental health, but it also helps with our physical health! Many dentists state that flossing once is the equivalent of brushing twice. This doesn’t mean that we can forego brushing in favor of flossing, simply that we need to do both.

Flossing provides benefits that brushing doesn’t. Your toothbrush can’t reach all the cracks and crevices between your teeth and in your gum line. Dental floss, however, can access those hard-to-reach areas and provide you with the best oral health possible, especially when you combine it with an antibacterial mouthwash.

After you eat, a thin, sticky film remains on your teeth and begins to erode your tooth enamel. When the film isn’t removed through brushing and flossing, it turns into plaque, which can only be removed by a dentist. When plaque remains on your teeth, it causes decay and cavities to form, and your gums become inflamed. Researchers have linked the inflammation in gum disease to many major health issues, such as diabetes, dementia, heart disease, obesity, and pneumonia, among others. As incredible as it seems, your dental floss can make a dramatic difference in the likelihood of your developing these diseases.

Although flossing is essential for everyone, those who are in a high-risk category should be especially dedicated to their oral hygiene. High-risk categories include the elderly, those who already have serious health issues, and those who have regular dry mouth. Several factors can result in a dry mouth, such as age, medications, heredity, or simple dehydration. Many people just don’t like drinking water. It is, however, the best method for maintaining hydration and a good level of saliva. Your saliva is essential for good oral health because it flushes the bacteria from your mouth. If you have a dry mouth, talk to your dentist about possible solutions.

Now that you’re aware of the importance of flossing, you need to know the proper method for flossing. Use about 18 inches of floss, grasp it at either end using your thumbs and index fingers, and then pull it taut. It may help to loop it once or twice around your index fingers. Pull the floss between two teeth and gently move it in an up-and-down and back-and-forth motion to remove any food particles. Repeat for every tooth, using a clean section of floss each time. Then, rinse your mouth thoroughly.

Get Your Kids Involved in Flossing Too!

Flossing is essential for children to master as well. Be sure to get your kids involved in flossing at an early age since this will provide them with the best oral hygiene habits for a lifetime. When a child has two teeth that abut, they’re old enough to learn the basics of flossing. Although it may be challenging to get your child engaged and interested in flossing, it will be worth it. Since kids learn best when the learning is fun, so try making floss time fun time. The following ideas may help get your creative thoughts flowing, but by all means, tailor them to your kids.

Fun Motivators for Kids to Floss in Five Versions

Keep in mind that perfection isn’t the key when you’re teaching your kids to floss. The focus is on teaching them the basics, and proficiency will follow as they practice.

  1. Keep track: Make or buy a flossing chart and hang it in their bathroom at their eye level. For each day that your child flosses, add a star or sticker to mark their progress. After several successful days of flossing, reward them with an extended bedtime, a favorite story, or an item of their choosing.
  2. Games and more: Make your kids’ floss time into a party with upbeat music or stories. Create your own play with your kids the stars.
  3. Kid tools: Adult flossing tools are boring and too big for little hands. Kids’ flossing tools, however, are smaller, brightly colored, and the floss comes in flavors. Some floss sticks even glow in the dark!
  4. Praise them: Praise your kids for their success! They don’t have to be perfect at flossing. As long as they’re making an effort, that’s what counts, so praise them for their efforts. Don’t be fake about it, though.
  5. Show the way: You can’t stress the benefits of flossing if you don’t floss, so show your kids that you’re on board with flossing and make it family time with family rewards.

Four Steps to Foolproof Flossing for Anyone

Although flossing requires some degree of manual dexterity, it’s pretty straightforward. The American Dental Association has provided four easy steps to follow for those who are just learning how to floss or those that need a refresher.

  1. Wind: Using about 18 inches of dental floss, grasp either end between your thumbs and index fingers and pull the floss taut.
  2. Guide: Guide the floss between the top and bottom of each tooth using your index fingers.
  3. Glide: Move the floss back and forth, then up and down between your teeth so that you remove all the food particles. Make sure to use a gentle motion and don’t damage your gums.
  4. Slide: Use a clean section of floss for each tooth, then slide the floss under the gum line, then up and down over the tooth’s surface. Rinse thoroughly.

The order of motion doesn’t matter, whether you move back-and-forth first or up-and-down first. It also doesn’t matter whether you floss first or brush first. You can use waxed floss or unwaxed floss, the manual method, or an electric flosser. The important thing is that you floss and then rinse your mouth.

If you dislike dental floss, use a hand-held flosser, which is available as either a manual tool or an electric device. If you have braces or other dental appliances, be careful not to tangle them in the floss. Your dentist can provide information about special orthodontic dental floss and floss threaders that may make it easier for you.

If you want to floss but need more information, then call Family Dental Group at , and we’ll be happy to answer all your questions. Call us today.

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