How Important Is Flossing for My Oral Health?

Family Dentist

From the time you were young, your parents and other caregivers probably emphasized the importance of brushing your teeth. Doing this at least twice a day is a way to fight cavities and other dental problems. But what about flossing? This may have been a step you skipped in your youth, but it’s definitely essential as well.

Benefits of Flossing

Though it only takes a few minutes, many people neglect to floss. When you make this a regular part of your routine, you can enjoy many benefits to your health. Flossing can help in some of the following ways:

  • Removes plaque and helps prevent the buildup of plaque.
  • Removes food in your teeth that your toothbrush may have missed.
  • Helps prevent tooth decay.
  • Fights off gum problems such as gum disease and gingivitis.
  • Can help prevent bigger overall health issues such as heart disease and cancer.

How Often Should You Floss?

Flossing your teeth isn’t something you can do once in a while and expect to see significant results. Some people only remember or both to floss the day of a dentist appointment. This simply isn’t anywhere near sufficient to improve and maintain your oral health. Dentists recommend you should floss at least twice a day, preferably right before you brush your teeth. Doing so will dislodge food from your teeth that your toothbrush can then more easily get. It’s also effective to floss right after you eat.

How Long Should You Floss?

If you’re in a hurry, you may be tempted to quickly run floss through your mouth in the matter of a few seconds. While this is certainly better than doing nothing, it’s best to spend at least a couple of minutes. If you’re like most people, you have 28 teeth, so you need to take sufficient time to thoroughly brush between all of them.

Barriers to Flossing

A big reason why some people simply put off flossing is that they think it’s inconvenient or too difficult. For example, if you wear braces on your teeth, it can be a challenge maneuvering the floss around in your mouth. However, ask your family dentist for floss hooks, which can guide the floss underneath wires and in between hooks. Some younger children may struggle to floss. As a parent, help your young ones to start flossing around age 5 or 6. Also, if you have shaky hands and can’t easily get the floss in between teeth, there are electric floss options.

Flossing isn’t only important for your oral health, it’s crucial for your entire well-being. If you floss frequently and effectively, you can notice a significant improvement to the way your teeth and mouth look and feel.


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