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Galt Family Dentistry
3343 NE 33rd Street, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308

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Why Flossing Is a Must, Not a Maybe

Thinking about skipping flossing today? Think again! Flossing between teeth after every meal or, at the very minimum, once per day will help to keep your pearly whites as beautiful as possible for as long as possible. For a long time it was assumed that brushing your teeth twice a day was enough to keep your teeth and gums healthy. And, while that still holds true, it’s not the whole truth. To truly look after the health of your gums and teeth, you also need to incorporate flossing into your daily dental routine. Why, you ask? Well, it helps to remove plaque, keep your breath fresh, and protect against more serious issues, like gum disease or cavities. Don’t worry, we are about to share with you the reasoning behind why you need to floss regularly, how to floss properly, and more. Cheers to flossing!

Why Proper Flossing Matters

With every meal you eat and over time, plaque, bacteria, and tartar can build up on your teeth and in your mouth. Plaque and bacteria pose serious threats to the health of your teeth and can have long-term effects on your gums and your teeth. When you eat and drink foods, the sugars in those foods stick on and between your teeth and soon convert to acids. Once the acid hardens into plaque, your dental health is already compromised! Plaque is a sticky film that creates irritation in the gums and can lead to gingivitis. Thankfully gingivitis is curable if you catch it in time.

So, how do you remove plaque and bacteria from your mouth? Take a guess! Did you guess flossing and brushing your teeth daily? You are correct! Flossing removes plaque from between and on teeth that could otherwise remain after brushing. The other reason to remove plaque is that it is related to systemic diseases. While more study is needed, researchers believe the inflammation caused by bacteria is to blame. This inflammation is linked to cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, pneumonia, and even more diseases you don’t want to catch.

By flossing and brushing daily and visiting your dentist for regular cleanings and check ups, you can prevent the following conditions:

  • Gingivitis
  • Cavities
  • Tooth decay
  • Loss of teeth or gum tissue due to advanced periodontal disease
  • Bad breath
  • Discolored or yellowed teeth

Maintaining good dental health habits is the best way to keep your teeth strong and healthy. If you are someone that is at higher risk for developing dental problems, it’s even more important that you floss. Some medications that cause dry mouth may also make you more likely to develop gum issues. Saliva is essential to cleaning the mouth of bacteria and when you are lacking in saliva, you need to be even more diligent about protecting your teeth and gums. Talk to your dentist if you have any questions.

The Keys to Flossing for Children

As soon as two teeth erupt through your baby’s gums next to each other, it is time to start helping them floss their teeth. How exciting! At first, you will need to floss your baby’s teeth. As they age, however, they can begin the process of learning to floss their teeth on their own. Motivating your children to floss is one of the most important things you can do for their dental health. When you take your child in for their first dental appointment your dentist can explain the importance of flossing and brushing and give you tips for helping your child floss. It’s important that your child develop these habits early and form a good relationship with the dentist. Strong teeth and gums are best developed from a young age.

How to Get Your Kids to Floss

Dental experts recommend positive reinforcement for good dental hygiene behaviors in children and adolescents. This can make the process of teaching your children good flossing and brushing habits much easier. While it can be a bit of a challenge at first, consider implementing the following steps to help your child develop a good flossing routine.

  • Make a chart or calendar and put a sticker on each day your child successfully brushes and flosses.
  • Give verbal praise or other rewards for brushing and flossing without having to remind your children.
  • Show your children the proper way to brush and floss by completing your dental hygiene tasks in front of them to serve as an example.
  • Choose toothbrushes and flossing tools that are bright, fun, and sized correctly for your child. Make flossing exciting!
  • Turn the process of brushing and flossing into a game to make it much more fun for your children. There are apps available to help guide you in these activities if you aren’t feeling creative.

Each of these strategies can assist you in teaching your children the right ways to brush and floss. The end goal is to ensure that your children have the healthiest teeth and gums possible at any age. Dentists love their patients, but it’s better if they don’t have to see them more than normal!

The Flossing Process

The good news about flossing is that there are just four simple steps! Can you believe it’s that easy?

  1. Wind – Take about 18 inches worth of floss and wind it around your index fingers and thumbs before you begin.
  2. Guide – Gently guide the floss up and down in a smooth motion between the top and bottom of each tooth.
  3. Glide – Glide the floss between each set of adjacent teeth without forcing the floss between the teeth and harming the gums.
  4. Slide – Use a fresh part of the floss for every pass between your teeth. Be sure to slide along the entire gap all the way to the gumline to achieve the best possible results.

Some people may have trouble with manual flossing. Teeth that are too close together or that have sustained damage could be more difficult to floss. In some cases, we may recommend electric flossers or single-use flossing picks that can make the process much easier. Additionally, those with dental work should be extra careful when flossing to avoid damaging the dental work or injuring the gums. No matter when you do it, just make sure you start incorporating flossing into your daily routine. Your gums will be glad you did!

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Galt Family Dentistry

3343 NE 33rd Street, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308

(954) 302-7410