We’ve all been told to brush after every meal or at least twice a day, and while it’s easy to follow these instructions, one step that almost everyone misses is flossing. Flossing has always been thought as one of those annoying chores that your dentist tells you that you need to start doing but that you never follow up with actually performing. However, flossing is a lot more important to your dental health than you might think. When you use a brush, even an electric power one, you’re not able to remove the dirt, food and plaque that is found between the teeth. Only flossing gets rid of this bacteria which would otherwise feed on the fragile enamel and dentin of the teeth, making it susceptible to decay. Also, if you fail to floss your teeth, you’re more likely to develop gingivitis than someone who flosses regularly.

There are several ways that you can floss your teeth, but it should be done at least once a day. Most dental professionals will recommend that you floss with traditional string floss, as it allows you to get between the teeth and scrape off any stuck-on plaque and food. If you have tight teeth or don’t like using string floss, you’ll want to consider either dental picks and interdental brushes or a water floss machine. Interdental brushes are great because you can go from one side of the tooth to the other without trying to wiggle string between the floss. Water flossing devices, though expensive, shoot high-pressure water between the teeth to quickly remove dirt, plaque and trapped food. If you have a water flossing machine, consider adding a cap full of mouthwash to the reservoir for an extra bright and fresh clean.

Many cases of halitosis, or bad breath, comes from not flossing because of all of the stuck food particles and gunk that can be found between the teeth. If you’ve been continually told by your hygienist or dentist that you need to start flossing, there’s good reason for why they’re warning you. If you begin to develop gingivitis as a result of poor dental hygiene, this could eventually lead to gum disease, which affects not only the gums of the mouth, but the underlying bone structure as well. If you are not used to flossing, consider adding it into your routine gradually until you’re flossing at least once a day.

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