Did you know that less than 5% of the Aussie population regularly floss their teeth?
And many of us floss just twice a year – the night before our 6 monthly dental check-up.
DOES THAT SOUND LIKE YOU? It is so common I have even given this habit it’s own special name – the #guiltyfloss or also known as the #panicfloss.
The Australian Dental Association encourages us to floss every day for a clean and healthy mouth – but if daily flossing is not realistic for you, then try to floss at least once a week.
Flossing properly removes plaque and food particles where a toothbrush simply can’t reach. (Even if you are the most diligent tooth-brusher EVER!)
Between your teeth and under your gum line there is a place that is very hard to reach; and a buildup of plaque in those unreached areas can make your gums inflamed, lead to gum disease, tooth decay and even tooth loss – in extreme cases.
So don’t just floss when food gets stuck. I am going to ask you to make it part of your routine. Just like cleaning your teeth, or having a daily shower. Or watching the latest Game of Thrones.
In order to get the most benefit out of your flossing, just follow these 4 simple steps:
- Get a piece of floss approximately 30cm in length and wrap it around both middle fingers, with more on one finger than the other. Leave 5 or 10cm of floss to utilise.
- Hold the dental floss tightly between your thumb and index finger, slide it between your teeth up-and-down gently.
- Glide the dental floss between your teeth using a zig-zag motion, making sure to go gently beneath the gum line. Do not use too much pressure and cause bleeding or damage your gums.
- Move from tooth to tooth, repeating the process and DO NOT FORGET your very back teeth! I know its dark back there, but they also deserve some love.
Floss picks have also grown in popularity the last few years, and are pretty easy to use if you prefer. Dental water jets are another way to encourage flossing.
But good old floss is just as effective – and cheaper. And in many ways, better.
Should I stop flossing if my gums bleed?
Seeing blood when you floss can be a little scary, but some bleeding is totally normal. It’s definitely not a reason to quit flossing.
Bleeding can also alert you to some potential problems. Some people bleed because they’re flossing too enthusiastically. If you bleed alot, try to be gentler and see whether you bleed less.
People with gum disease bleed more than others when they floss. Take a close look at your gum line and see whether it looks inflamed. If you think you might have gum disease, give us a call at our Jannali Dental practice on 9528 9204 so we can check it out.
Does flossing make receding gums worse?
There’s no truth to the myth that flossing exacerbates receding gums.
In fact, flossing can actually prevent gums from receding, since it cleans food particles and bacteria from below the gum line. That makes flossing CRUCIAL for people with hereditary receding gums and gingivitis.
If your gums are already receding, flossing daily can help prevent further damage.
Bear in mind though that over-zealous flossing CAN be hazardous to gum recession so speak to us if you need advice on your flossing technique.
Be thorough, but be gentle.
Should I still floss if I have braces?
So you, or your child has braces? I am the first to agree that braces can make flossing challenging. But failing to floss for the months or years that you have braces is a bad idea.
Just imagine how much food and bacteria will be stuck between your teeth by the time you get your braces off! (And yep it could be a bit smelly too.)
If you find flossing with braces difficult, let us at Jannali Dental Care help you perfect your technique. Remember, we are here to guide and help you with you oral hygiene.
We hope with these helpful tips that flossing becomes an easier, more routine process for you.
Remember that a dental checkup is still necessary even if you practice good oral hygiene at home, so contact the best dentist in Jannali, today! That’s us, Jannali Dental Care, of course!
Give us a call on (02) 9528 9204 to make an appointment OR if you’d rather not ring, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org OR click HERE to leave us a message and we will call you back.