Dental Flossing at its Best

Do you remember in elementary school being taught proper brushing techniques for keeping our teeth white, clean, and cavity-free? You may have gotten a free toothbrush and a pack of toothpaste. Surprisingly, while dental flossing was invented by a New Orleans dentist back in 1815, it has only been in the last 10-20 years that flossing has been promoted as a necessity for oral hygiene.

Even so, the Journal of the American Dental Association reports that while nearly every American brushes his or her teeth, only 10-40% of people floss daily.  It used to be that we’d floss a day or two before a dental appointment to avoid the shame and wrath of the dental hygienist. Flossing is now considered to be an absolute ongoing necessity for proper oral hygiene.

Dental Flossing Facts
Studies have shown that without flossing, an astonishing 40 percent of the surfaces of your teeth are never clean! Brushing and mouthwash regimes only clean 60 percent of your pearly whites. Would you clean 60 percent of your kitchen floor and leave the other portion dirty? Of course not!

Here are five key reasons why you should floss:
1) Flossing prevents tooth decay. Brushing is only partially effective. Flossing prevents tooth decay in those hard-to-reach places between teeth.
2) Flossing keeps away gum disease. This goes hand-in-hand with the first point. Healthy teeth mean healthy gums and result in a healthy mouth.
3) It promotes fresh breath. Regular flossing blocks halitosis because bacteria lives in the crevices between teeth. Mints and mouthwash only cover up bad breath. Flossing can remove the bacteria and make you more appealing to be around!
4) It brings comfort. There are few things more comfortable than popcorn kernels or stringy fruit or vegetable remains that lodge between teeth. Flossing removes the offending pieces of trapped food without damaging your teeth.
5) It makes for a healthy, dazzling smile. There’s nothing more unappealing than having leftover food in and on your teeth.

How do you get into the daily habit of flossing? Here are four important pointers:
1) Establish a pattern. Floss the same time every day. It makes the most sense to do it as part of your pre-bedtime ritual in order to remove food build-up from the day so you have a clean mouth overnight.
2) Combine flossing with another activity in your life. Some people floss after brushing. Others like to do it while watching television. With practice, you may not even need a mirror.
3) Keep floss around you—in your car, in the bathroom, by your favorite place to sit and relax. Today most drugstores offer small disposable floss picks that are very convenient. A pack of 36 costs less than $2.
4) Remember as you get into the habit of flossing that other people may not enjoy watching you floss, so be sensitive to this when you’re out in public.

Make a mental note or write it down. Floss for life and keep your teeth healthy for a lifetime. General dentistry care is an important part of life.

If  it’s time for your dental check up, contact Dr. Mark Sweeney, an Austin Texas dentist, at (512) 452-9296.