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The Essential Role of Flossing in Your Oral Hygiene Routine

added on: November 21, 2023

When you visit your Madison dentist, you may have found yourself asking, “Do I really need to floss?” After all, you diligently brush your teeth twice a day, every day, so how significant can flossing be? The truth is, flossing is an integral part of any home oral hygiene routine, and its benefits extend far beyond what brushing alone can achieve. There’s a saying among dental professionals that you don’t have to floss all your teeth, just the ones you want to keep. In this blog, we’ll delve into why flossing is so crucial for maintaining healthy teeth and gums.

Flossing Reaches Where Brushing Can’t

The primary reason why flossing should be a daily habit is that brushing alone cannot effectively clean every surface of your teeth. When you skip flossing, you leave approximately 35% of each tooth’s surface uncleaned. This oversight provides an ideal breeding ground for plaque and harmful bacteria, which can lead to a host of oral health problems.

What Happens When You Neglect Flossing?

To put it simply, if you neglect flossing, you are setting yourself up for unwanted dental issues that may require intervention from your Madison dentist. Some of the ways in which skipping flossing can harm your oral health include:

  • Plaque Hardens into Tartar

Plaque, if left unchecked, can harden into tartar, which cannot be removed by regular brushing. A professional cleaning is necessary to eliminate tartar buildup.

  • Increased Risk of Cavities

When you don’t floss, you leave behind food particles and plaque between your teeth. This environment encourages the formation of cavities.

  • Development of Gum Disease

Failing to floss allows plaque to accumulate along the gumline, increasing the likelihood of developing gum disease, such as gingivitis and periodontitis.

  • Tooth Loss

Over time, untreated gum disease can lead to tooth loss, a consequence that is both physically and emotionally distressing.

Dentists Can Detect Your Flossing Habits

You might believe that flossing the night before your dental appointment will suffice to remove any buildup between your teeth and gums. However, dental professionals can easily discern whether you floss regularly. How? During your dental cleaning, your gums may bleed, which is the primary indicator of gingivitis. Gingivitis doesn’t take long to form, and if left untreated, it can progress to irreversible gum disease, potentially leading to tooth loss and other systemic health concerns. Therefore, being honest about your flossing habits with your Madison dentist is crucial, as it allows them to provide tailored preventive dentistry and personalized care.

You’re Not Alone

If you feel embarrassed about not flossing, rest assured that you’re not alone. More than 30% of Americans don’t floss daily, making your situation quite common. Openly discussing your flossing habits with your dentist is a proactive step towards improving your oral health. Together, you can explore various flossing products to find the one that best suits your needs. Flossing options include:

  • Traditional string floss, available in waxed and unwaxed variants, is a time-tested option for effective interdental cleaning.
  • Floss picks are convenient, single-use tools that make flossing between teeth a breeze.
  • Dental tape is a broader, flatter floss that is ideal for people with more widely spaced teeth.
  • Water flossers use a pressurized stream of water to remove debris and plaque between teeth and along the gumline.

Remember that the best floss for you is the one you will consistently use. Feel free to experiment with different types of floss to determine which one aligns with your preferences and requirements.

To ensure excellent dental checkups and protect your teeth, gums, and overall oral health, make daily brushing and flossing an integral part of your routine. These habits are your first line of defense against dental issues, helping you maintain a bright and healthy smile that will last a lifetime. Your Madison dentist is your partner in achieving and maintaining optimal oral health, so don’t hesitate to seek their guidance on your oral care journey.