Most Americans are spending a lot of time at home these days with the pandemic in full force. Many are using time to remodel or clean out their homes. Others are using the time for self-care or taking up a new hobby.
One excellent use of your time would be learning to floss your teeth just as dentists tell you to in order to improve your oral health. Many don’t know that oral health is tied to many other significant health issues in addition to gum disease.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), getting your teeth properly cleaned twice a year at your dentist’s office helps prevent gum disease and also reduces your chances of potentially deadly heart attacks and strokes.
Why should I floss my teeth?
The ADA recommends cleaning between your teeth daily with floss. This will help prevent gum disease and cavities as well as remove a film called plaque. Plague contains bacteria that feeds on leftover sugar or food on your teeth and gums releasing an acid that can eat away at the outer shell of your teeth and cause cavities.
Plaque that is not removed by brushing and cleaning between your teeth daily can eventually harden into a rough substance called tartar. It collects along your gums leading to gum disease. Only your dentist can remove the collected tartar.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the only way to avoid gum disease is with good dental habits.
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
- Floss your teeth often in order to remove plaque.
- See your local dentist regularly for checkups and professional cleanings.
- Don’t smoke. If you smoke, quit now.
What should I use to floss my teeth?
As tempting as it may be to use whatever you have on hand to get something unstuck between your teeth, it is better to use tools designed for cleaning between teeth. You can use dental picks, string floss, tiny brushes that reach between the teeth and water flossers.
Discuss this with your dentist and try different options until you find the one that works for you. Continue flossing daily and you will have developed a healthy habit for life.
How do I properly floss my teeth with string floss?
- Take about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around one of your fingers. Wind the remaining floss around the same finger of the opposite hand. This finger will take up the floss as it becomes dirty.
- Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers.
- Guide the floss back and forth between your teeth. Never snap the floss into your gums.
- When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth.
- Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum moving up and down. Repeat on the rest of your teeth.
- Once you’re finished, throw the floss away. A used piece of floss could leave bacteria behind in your mouth.
Good oral health is key to overall health and wellness
One of the most important appointments to keep at your dentist’s office is the dental cleaning session when your teeth and gums are thoroughly cleaned. It is also when your dentist screens you for other developing issues. Some are simple like a cavity and others can be life threatening.
Many times it is difficult to get dental work done due to the expense. If you need a dentist but are worried about money, there are many ways to get dental financing. Many dentists do a zero credit check with the minimal down payment for dental work. It is not uncommon for patients to need to spread out dental payments.
It is important to maintain your dental check-ups and make sure you are twice daily flossing and brushing your teeth. Use this downtime to build important oral hygiene habits which will benefit your overall health for all of your lifetime.