Flossing became something that dentists recommended several decades ago. Before that, the public was told that brushing and rinsing—along with regular dentist appointments—were sufficient to maintain oral health. So why do dentists recommend flossing now? And is flossing really necessary?
What Is Flossing?
Flossing is a method of cleaning in between teeth. The word floss means to polish. While you aren’t technically polishing your teeth when you floss, the back and forth motion does resemble the polishing method.
Is Flossing Really Necessary?
Dentists and the American Dental Society do consider flossing as an essential part of dental hygiene. Brushing and rinsing your teeth are also essential parts of dental hygiene, but they do not clean in between see the way that flossing does. Unfortunately, plaque and tartar buildup can happen on any part of the tooth surface. That includes in between teeth. Even when your teeth are closely positioned together, bacteria can make its way in there and cause dental health issues. Flossing is really the only way to remove this bacteria from in between teeth.
What Are Appropriate Flossing Tools?
There are a variety of flossing tools available at your local drugstore. Any one of them will do an adequate job of flossing your teeth. The choice is really up to you. As long as you and your dentist are satisfied that the flossing is getting rid of bacteria in between your teeth, there’s no reason to change your preferred flossing tool. Many people prefer flossing tape. This is a flat-sided material that is very thin so it gets in between teeth. Other people prefer flossing string. Each of these flossing tools has its own benefits. Some people feel that the flossing tape is easier to handle; others feel that the flossing string is easier to manipulate in between teeth.
How Often Should You Floss?
Finally, people often wonder how often they should floss. The answer is that you should floss the same number of times that you brush your teeth. Essentially, if you make a habit of flossing before you brush each time, you will be taking the best possible care of your teeth.
If you have questions about your flossing method or you wonder if your flossing is being effective enough, please contact your dentist today.