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Practicing proper oral hygiene involves more than just brushing your teeth. While brushing is critical and necessary, it alone isn’t sufficient to take care of all the plaque and bacteria hiding in your mouth. Only through a combination of brushing and flossing will you ensure the maintenance of your oral health.
Importance of Flossing
Dental plaque is formed when thin sheets of bacteria band together and form a sticky and hard matrix of fibers. Bacteria do this to avoid getting dislodged from the warm and moist environment of your mouth, which is the perfect place for them to thrive. Lucky for us, regular brushing is usually sufficient to dislodge plaque and remove bacteria from our teeth. However, there are areas between teeth and in hard to reach corners of our mouth where toothbrushes simply can’t get to. In these cases, flossing is your best defence against plaque-forming bacteria. Floss can be used to scrape off plaque from all the surfaces of your teeth. If left unchecked, plaque will eventually harden into tartar, which is no longer removable by brushing and will need to be scraped off by a dental hygienist.
Perhaps you’ve made a healthy habit of regular flossing, but your hygienist still sees tartar buildup when you go for cleaning. What’s the problem? Likely, you aren’t flossing optimally, which is causing the flossing to not work as intended. Ensure that you ride the edge of the tooth everytime you insert the floss instead of just inserting the floss and then lifting out. Remember, you want the string to contact your tooth in order to remove plaque. Also make sure that you slide right down to the gumline to ensure that you haven’t missed a spot. There are a variety of different kinds of floss available; choose the one that works best for you. If you’ve got braces and are finding it difficult to floss, ask your dentist for a special hard-ended tool that can help you thread floss in and around the brackets.
Aim to floss at least once a day. This prevents any plaque on your teeth from having the time needed to harden into tartar. You may also choose to floss if you’ve got bits of food stuck between your teeth. Flossing doesn’t need to take a long time, but when you do floss ensure that you’re doing so properly and effectively.
Have further questions about flossing or oral hygiene? Centennial Smiles is always happy to help. Call us at (587) 317‑7959 today!