Your mouth is the gateway to your body. There are many bad bacteria entering your body and the mouth is a great place to stop them. Brushing alone cannot remove all of these bacteria, which can be hidden in dental plaque. This plaque is a soft and white accumulation of micro-organisms. It contains about 400 different species of bacteria, and billions of individual germs in each milligram of plaque. They can be damaging to both your teeth, gums and potentially other areas of your body.
Flossing is one of the most important things you can do for your health because it can help with the following:
- preventing tooth decay - only flossing can remove the plaque that is hiding between your teeth. Also it's this bacteria along with sugar that cause cavities.
- preventing gum disease - an accumulation of plaque around your gums and teeth can cause gingivitis, which is inflammation of the gums.
- helping against tartar buildup - tartar is dental plaque that has become hard from the saliva’s calcifying action. Flossing and brushing can slow down the accumulation of tartar, but does not actually remove it. During your semi-annual dentist visits your dentist removes tartar on your teeth.
- helping to prevent halitosis - dental plaque is one of the causes of halitosis, and if it’s left between your teeth, it will generate a bad smell in your mouth. Bad breath can also be caused by gum disease and tooth decay which are also primarily caused by plaque.
- reducing the risk of heart disease - as discussed earlier, the mouth is the gateway for harmful bacteria that may eventually reach the body organs, including cardiac tissue. Dental plaque, which contains dangerous bacteria, must be therefore eliminated to prevent those micro-organisms to reach the heart through the blood stream and cause heart disease complications.
- reduce complications of diabetes - diabetics can have their condition complicated by gum disease. Diabetics usually have a weaker immune system and take more time to fight inflammations and infections, including the ones that start in the mouth
What is the best way to floss? Below is from the American Dental Hygienists' Association website:
Wind 18" of floss around middle fingers of each hand. Pinch floss
between thumbs and index fingers, leaving a 1"- 2" length in between.
Use thumbs to direct floss between upper teeth.
|Keep a 1" - 2" length of floss taut between fingers. |
Use index fingers to guide floss between contacts of the lower teeth.
|Gently guide floss between the teeth by using a zig-zag |
motion. DO NOT SNAP FLOSS BETWEEN YOUR TEETH. Contour floss around
the side of the tooth.
|Slide floss up and down against the tooth surface and |
under the gumline. Floss each tooth thoroughly with a clean section
by and used courtesy of the John O. Butler Company--
How often do you floss every day? How are your dentist visits?