You are reminded every time you go to the dentist to floss between your teeth at least once a day. Every time you read about caring for your teeth, there’s a good chance flossing is mentioned. With all the constant reminders, you’ve gathered that flossing is important, but have you ever given much thought to why?

At Davenport Dental Group, we see all kinds of patients. We have been asked many times whether it is really that important to floss your teeth, especially if you brush properly. The short answer is absolutely yes! And there’s no better time to discuss than Gum Disease Awareness Month.

The Importance of Flossing Your Teeth

When you brush your teeth, you are focusing on the front and back of your teeth. Even the most thorough brushing technique focuses on just those two areas. That leaves nearly half of the surfaces of your teeth uncleaned. How? Because even the best toothbrushes can’t reach the sides of your teeth and the area closest to your gum line.

Flossing is necessary because it allows you to reach those “nooks and crannies” that need just as much attention as the rest of your teeth. If you don’t floss, bacteria and food debris build up between your teeth and beneath your gums, eventually causing plaque to form.

Benefits of Flossing Your Teeth

Each time you floss your teeth, you break up plaque bacterial biofilm that accumulates on your teeth. If you didn’t floss and that biofilm stays on your teeth, it grows and can potentially change the chemistry of your mouth, making it easier for dangerous bacteria to thrive. This makes it easier for you to develop an infection.

Not flossing leaves your mouth vulnerable to gum infection, called gingivitis, as well as the more serious gum disease that can result in tooth loss. The major benefit of flossing is avoiding these disastrous issues.

Another benefit of flossing your teeth that you will notice almost instantaneously is fresher breath. Once you rid your mouth of the nasty bacteria that give off an unpleasant odor, your mouth will feel and smell a lot better.

How to Properly Floss Your Teeth

The American Dental Association offers the following tips on how to properly floss your teeth:

  1. Use a section of dental floss approximately 18 inches long.
  2. Wrap most of the floss around the middle finger of one hand and the rest around the middle finger of your other hand.
  3. Firmly grasp the floss between your thumb and forefinger and use a rubbing motion to gently guide it between your teeth. Slightly curve the floss, as if you were hugging your tooth, then clean around the curved sides of your teeth.
  4. When you reach the gum line with the floss, create a C-shape to follow the shape of your tooth, maintaining the “hugging” action.
  5. Firmly hold the floss against your tooth and gently move it up and down.
  6. Repeat with the tooth on the other side of that same space, then repeat until you have cleaned each of your teeth.
  7. Don’t forget to floss behind your very back teeth.
  8. Use fresh sections of floss as you go.

For more information on how to keep your mouth healthy and prevent oral health issues, or to schedule a checkup and cleaning, call Davenport Dental Group at 956-242-6745 (Junction Drive) or 956-517-2695 (Winfield). You also can contact us online.