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The Truth about Flossing

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that everyone brush their teeth at least twice per day. And while many people comply with this recommendation, there's another equally important suggestion from the ADA that isn't as regularly followed - flossing.

According to the ADA, you should be flossing your teeth at least once per day. In fact, most dentists recommend that you do it just before you go to bed, as it removes any food and plaque, ensuring it won't be lingering in your mouth - potentially doing damage - overnight.

Flossing is especially important for several reasons. For starters, floss is an interdental cleaner, which, unlike the toothbrush that treats the surfaces of your teeth, is designed to treat the spaces between your teeth as well as the gaps between the base of the teeth and gums. Hence, flossing helps remove lodged food, plaque and tartar buildup in these areas that the toothbrush can't reach. When the likes of plaque and tartar build up, they can lead to gingivitis, an early, reversible, form of gum disease. If gingivitis isn't treated in a timely manner, it can lead to more hazardous health conditions, such as periodontitis, or severe gum disease, tooth loss and even bone loss. What's more is that gum disease is also linked to an increased risk of heart disease.

As you can see, flossing is really important - and not just for your oral health.

The Dentist Knows

Does the dentist know whether or not I floss? The answer is "yes." For those who don't floss at all, gums are usually red, swollen and bleed easily during the cleaning. But swollen, bleeding gums isn't the only giveaway as to whether or not you're flossing. In fact, a dentist can usually tell just by looking inside your mouth. That's because if there appears to be a significant buildup of plaque and tartar within it, it's evidence that you're not flossing.

Some patients try to fool dentists into thinking they floss by doing it in the days leading up to their cleaning. But that's not fooling dentists either. That's because while flossing before a cleaning will dislodge food, it won't be enough to rid the mouth of plaque and tartar buildup over time - that can only be done with regular - not sporadic - flossing.

When to Floss

As we pointed out earlier, most dentists recommend flossing right before you go to bed. This ensures that plaque and tartar won't be lingering in your mouth during the eight hours or so that you sleep. To add extra oomph to your flossing efforts, floss right before you brush for the night. Removing the plaque and tartar around the gum line will help maximize the effectiveness of brushing. Furthermore, we also recommend rinsing your mouth out with mouthwash to kill any bacteria before you turn in for the night.

As you can see, flossing should be a part of everyone's daily routine. It only takes a few minutes to do, and the payoff for doing it is certainly much greater than the risks, additional dental work and costs of not doing it. For more information on the importance of flossing, or to schedule your six-month dental cleaning, contact Caven Dental today.

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