Does Flossing Really Matter?

Does Flossing Really Matter?

Flossing is part of routine teeth cleanings, but it should be part of your daily cleaning routine, too. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends daily flossing, but not everyone partakes of this daily oral care habit — only 41% of people floss daily, and a whopping 20% never floss at all. 

Yet flossing is one of the most important things you can do for your oral health. Here, our expert team at The Masters Dental Group in San Antonio, Texas, explains why flossing really matters.

The benefits of flossing

Flossing is a type of teeth cleaning in which floss — or other interdental tools — remove plaque and food debris from between your teeth. Traditionally floss was made of long silk strands, but now it’s made with nylon filaments. Some floss is wax-coated to glide easily between teeth, and some floss is flavored to help freshen your breath.

In addition to the strands of floss threads, you can also use pre-threaded flossers and water flossers to floss between your teeth. Regardless of which type of interdental flosser you use, flossing really does matter. Here are five reasons why:

1. Flossing removes plaque and cleans between your teeth

When you brush your teeth, you scrub away plaque from the surface of your teeth, but even the best toothbrush can’t reach every surface between your teeth. This can leave teeth vulnerable to areas of plaque buildup, and plaque that isn’t removed can harden and become tartar.

2. Flossing prevents cavities

Plaque and tartar left on your teeth increase your risk of cavities. That’s because these bacteria-laden substances eat away at your enamel. When decay affects the area between two teeth, it’s called an interdental cavity. Flossing helps prevent this type of cavity.

3. Flossing can improve your breath

When the bacteria in your mouth break down food, they release volatile sulfur compounds (VSC). Because plaque is laden with these VSC-producing bacteria, you may end up with halitosis, or bad breath. Brushing your teeth removes plaque from the surface of your teeth, and flossing helps prevent bad breath, too, by removing plaque from between your teeth.

4. Regular flossing reduces discomfort 

Have you ever eaten ribs or corn on the cob and gotten bits of food stuck between your teeth? Large pieces of food, especially popcorn kernels, can be quite uncomfortable if left wedged between two teeth. Flossing not only removes food debris but also eliminates discomfort from stuck food.

5. Flossing helps prevent gum disease

Flossing helps prevent cavities and also helps prevent gum disease because it removes plaque and debris from along your gumline. When plaque builds up around your gums, it irritates your delicate gum tissue. Unless the plaque is removed, your gums become irritated and slowly start to pull away from your tooth. This creates larger periodontal pockets.

To recap: Flossing is a vital component of your at-home oral care routine. It helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease, freshens your breath, and helps remove pieces of food that are stuck between teeth.

Need help getting the right flossing technique?

Are you unsure how to floss under a dental bridge or around braces? Or which type of floss is best for you? During your routine dental cleaning, you receive a professional flossing, and we’re more than happy to answer any questions you have regarding your flossing technique.

To schedule your next cleaning or for any of your other dental needs, call The Masters Dental Group at 210-349-4424.

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