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Brushing your teeth twice daily is an effective way to clean the visible surfaces of your teeth, but what about the hard-to-reach surfaces in between? This is where flossing comes in. Flossing removes trapped food particles and plaque, a sticky film that forms on your teeth, from the areas between your teeth and around the gumline. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), flossing is an essential part of good dental hygiene and reduces the likelihood of tooth decay and gum disease.  

How Often Should You Floss?

The ADA recommends flossing at least once daily. Most people like to fit flossing into their morning routines, while others do so before bed. It’s up to personal preference. Just do it daily when it’s convenient for you, and before long, you’ll have adopted a new oral care habit.  

What happens if you never floss?

Flossing helps remove plaque from the hard-to-reach tooth surfaces and prevents it from hardening to tartar, which only a professional dental cleaning can remove. Plaque can produce acids that attack the enamel between your teeth, resulting in tooth decay and cavities. It can also cause bad breath (halitosis) and unsightly tooth staining. 

Additionally, plaque can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis (early gum disease), characterized by red, swollen, and bleeding gums. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, an advanced form of gum disease that can destroy the tissue and bone supporting the teeth, resulting in tooth loss. Additionally, gum disease is linked to heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, premature birth, and many other health conditions. 

Different Ways to Floss

Although traditional dental floss is the most common way to maintain your dental health, there are also some alternatives.

  • Traditional dental floss: Traditional flossing or manual flossing involves moving sections of waxed or non-waxed string between your teeth and under your gum line to remove bacteria and food debris.
  • Waterpik: This is the most popular brand of water flossers. Waterpik uses pressurized streams of water to remove food, bacteria, and plaque between your teeth. You can adjust the pressure setting to your liking, from a gentle to maximum cleanse.       
  • Interproximal brushes: These brushes specialize in cleaning wide or open spaces between teeth, including the space around and between the premolars and molars. They come in various sizes, ranging from 0.4 mm to 0.8 mm. For the best results, it’s important to choose an interdental brush of the right size.

It’s clear that flossing daily is not only key to a clean mouth but may also serve as good preventive care for complications elsewhere in the body. To maintain your dental health, you should also schedule regular dental exams and cleanings at 4th Street Dental Studio in Columbus OH. Contact us today to schedule appointment.

Robert D. Wood, DDS

Robert D. Wood II, DDS

Third-generation dentist and Nashville native Dr. Robert D. Wood II leverages his professional experience to deliver superior dental care at his Columbus-based practice, 4th Street Dental Studio. An advocate for preventative medicine, Dr. Wood combines his patient-centric approach with his talent for transforming dental visits from daunting experiences into positive ones. Beyond his practice, he enjoys exploring Columbus, engaging in outdoor activities, and is an active member of several dental associations and the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.