As your dentist has probably told you one hundred times, brushing teeth daily is an essential part of keeping the surfaces of teeth free from food particles, tartar and plaque, but flossing must also be done to keep the areas between your teeth just as clean.
Similar to toothbrushes and toothpastes, there is a huge selection of dental floss to choose from in the dental care aisle of your favorite store. No one type of floss is significantly better than the other. What’s important is that you find a dental floss that is recommended by the ADA (American Dental Association), doesn’t damage your gums and is comfortable for you to use daily. Flossing is an essential part of optimizing your oral hygiene and keeping gums healthy.
The following lists a breakdown of the different types of dental floss:
Waxed Dental Floss
If the spaces between your teeth are very tight, waxed dental floss is a good option to help the floss glide between teeth easier.
Unwaxed Dental Floss
This type of floss is good when your teeth are not spaced too tightly.
This is a ribbon-like dental floss and is made for teeth that are spaced wider apart.
If the spaces between teeth vary (some teeth are spaced tight together while other teeth have wider spacing), this type of dental floss may work the best. The yarn-like dental floss stretches thin for tight spaces and will spring back to its original size for wider spaces between teeth.
If wrapping dental floss around your fingers is awkward or uncomfortable, flossing picks are a good alternative. Flossing picks have convenient handles that make flossing easier.
Why Flossing Is So Important
Flossing is a vital part of daily oral hygiene. Keeping your mouth and teeth clean prevents health conditions such as periodontal (gum) disease.
When bacteria are not removed with daily cleaning and regularly scheduled dental check-ups, it can and usually does lead to gum disease. When that happens, it increases a number of health risks including:
Heart Disease: When gums are inflamed, bacteria from the mouth can get into the bloodstream and the heart. Keeping your gums healthy can reduce your risk for a heart attack.
Diabetes: Eliminating gum inflammation can directly improve diabetic control of blood sugar.
Stroke: Research studies show people with long term gum disease are more likely to have a stroke.
Chronic Lung Problems: The bacteria that collect in the mouth when gum disease is present are the same bacteria that cause respiratory disease. Keeping your mouth clean can reduce the risk of chronic lung problems.
Pre-Term Births: Mothers who have gum disease while pregnant are 7 to 8 times more likely to give birth prematurely.
As outlined above, good oral hygiene is much more than just producing a beautiful smile. It’s about keeping your entire body healthy. Regular cleanings at your family dentist also helps to keep your mouth as clean and healthy as possible!