Dental Guides

The Importance of Flossing

Brushing your teeth remains the most popular and persistent advice you receive from your dentist. It is a habit that you had ingrained since childhood. Flossing, on the other hand, is not as prominent a practice. In recent years, flossing has been on the fence due to a study that flossing does not have any proven health benefits.

At the very least, it’s been suggested that there is no substantial evidence that flossing can prevent cavities. Despite this, many dentists will still recommend flossing as an integral part of maintaining proper oral health. We will discuss here a few reasons why do we need to floss?

Why Flossing Is Necessary

Flossing performs tasks that brushing cannot.

Brushing ensures that the tops, front and back parts of your teeth are cleaned, and performing this task twice a day is enough to protect these parts of your teeth from plaque and tartar buildup. However, your toothbrush cannot reach some areas, including between the teeth and above your gums. The same applies to places that make you vulnerable to bacteria and plaque, such as where bits of food from your last meal get stuck.  

Dentists will also recommend flossing before brushing your teeth, as it dislodges remaining food particles and plaque buildup from your teeth. Brushing doesn’t remove these food particles as effectively. If the bits of food are present in your teeth while you brush them, you are skimming over it since that part of the tooth is covered. Remove the debris first before you brush.

Flossing helps prevent gum disease.

Inflammation of the gums, or gingivitis, has many other causes. However, it is caused primarily by the buildup of plaque near the gum line. As we explained earlier, food particles stuck in your teeth produce plaque in hard-to-reach places for a toothbrush. As the gums continue to be inflamed and start to bleed, it leads to periodontitis, or gum disease, which pulls teeth away from your gums and damages bone and gum tissue.

More recent studies have found that evidence of gum inflammation was lower in individuals who both brushed and flossed regularly than those who only brushed their teeth.

Flossing prevents bad breath.

Having food particles stuck in between your teeth means it is continuously under attack from bacteria and produces plaque. Plaque contributes to bad breath, which grows worse in the presence of overstaying food debris. Even if you brush your teeth to freshen your breath, if your toothbrush cannot force out the food particles that are causing your bad breath, then the stink will persist. Flossing is more effective at removing food particles than brushing.

Final Word

Despite popular opinion, it is undeniable that flossing has its advantages that brushing alone cannot address. Admittedly, the verdict is still out on whether there is scientific evidence to prove that flossing prevents cavities. However, there is nothing wrong with doing all you can to ensure optimal oral health. So go floss – and save your pearly whites!

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