Regular brushing, flossing and visits to the dentist form the foundation of good oral health. For most people, brushing their teeth after each and every meal and visiting the dentist twice a year is easy. But when it comes to flossing, a lot of people see this as a tedious, if not redundant, act. After all, why should you floss your teeth if you have already brushed your teeth?
If you happen to ask a dentist Manhattan locals trust, he will tell you that brushing is never enough. You see, a toothbrush is designed to clean the outer surface of teeth and gums. With the use of a toothpaste, a toothbrush eliminates plaque from your teeth, effectively reducing the bacteria in the mouth. You can also use a mouthwash to get rid of more germs and bacteria in your mouth.
However, it is important to point out that brushing alone cannot clean the areas between the teeth and beneath the gums.
Dental floss is specifically designed to clean these hard-to-reach areas which the bristles of a toothbrush cannot reach. If you forgo flossing, tiny bits of food are left behind. Over time, plaque develops in these areas and turns into tartar which can only be removed by a dentist using a scraper. Left unchecked, tartar can lead to gingivitis and go further down to the gum line. This can lead to periodontitis, a condition which is characterized by inflammation. Left untreated, periodontitis can lead to the loss of both teeth and bones.
But apart from compromising oral health as well as causing problems like bad breath and teeth discoloration, the bacteria found in the mouth can also lead to other health issues like heart disease and diabetes.
Ideally, people, including kids, should floss at least once a day. It does not matter whether you do it before or after brushing your teeth. The important thing is to set aside some time to do it.
If you have not been flossing, you may experience some discomfort. This may be gone after a week or two. Beyond this time period, if the discomfort persists, consult your dentist.
If you are one of those people who find flossing to be difficult, there are other ways to clean the areas between your teeth and gums. These include tools like the dental pick, wooden plaque remover and the pre-threaded flosser. Your dentist can teach how to use these tools properly without hurting your teeth and gums.