Do I Actually Have to Floss?
Everyone who has gone to the dentist at least once in their lives has been told by their dentist that they need to floss once a day, every day. You hear this advice a lot when you’re younger, and it eventually becomes a part of your nightly routine when you’re an adult. But do you actually have to do it? Do you actually have to floss once a day, every day for healthy gums? Or has this piece of advice gone the way of the dinosaur?
Why Do People Floss?
We floss so that we have healthier gums. Flossing takes away food particles that our toothbrush can’t reach. This keeps plaque from building up and our gums from getting irritated and inflamed. Both of these things can cause a person to get gum disease, so flossing is usually seen as a good thing. However, some experts are now contesting this claim.
Can’t I Just Brush?
Some experts say that brushing alone can achieve the same results. While it’s true that brushing cleans the surface of your teeth and remove particles near your gums, you will need to learn how to brush the right way before you can stop flossing. Brush for three minutes (not two) thoroughly around your whole mouth, top and bottom, front and back.
How to Floss Your Teeth
Flossing works, but technique is also important. Your dentist told you to use a strip of dental floss, slide it between your teeth, bend the strip around the tooth on both sides, and scrape off any particles that may be present.
The problem is that a lot of people force the floss between their teeth and jam it into their gum. This trauma over time can cause your gums to recede. Receding gums can cause tooth pain and decay. Take your time, use a mirror and be careful not to hurt your gums.
What Flossing Can Do For You
- Fresher breath: When food particles are removed, you take away something that can contribute to bad breath
- Whiter teeth: Removing food particles prevents them from staining your teeth
- Healthier gums: Flossing helps prevents gingivitis
- Healthier heart: Some experts think that heart disease could have links to gum disease. You can keep heart disease in check with regular flossing
Do you really need to floss? You probably should as the benefits far outweigh the downsides. It certainly won’t hurt you and your teeth, especially if it’s done right.