(480) 899-52402470 West Ray Road Suite 1, Chandler, AZ 85224

Daniel G. Kline DDS - Chandler Dentist

(480) 899-5240

2470 West Ray Road Suite 1, Chandler, AZ 85224

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Do I Really Need to Floss?

Posted by Editor in , , on November 15, 2017


Flossing doesn’t give us the same instant feeling of gratification that brushing does. We instantly feel cleaner, fresher and mintier after we brush our teeth, but that’s not the case with flossing. No wonder it’s easier to “forget” to floss than it is to forget brushing our teeth, but it’s a false sense of security. Flossing provides a plethora of benefits, and it’s time we start giving it the same prioritization as brushing.

There’s a reason you get a lecture whenever you see your dentist or hygienist about flossing or flossing better. According to Professor Alla Wheeler of the Dental Hygiene Program at New York University School of Dentistry, “Patients don’t think [flossing] does anything.”

However, flossing does 40 percent of the required work to get rid of plaque and excess bacteria from the teeth. Plaque is a breeding ground for acid, which leads to cavities and eventually gum disease. Every tooth has five distinct surfaces. Flossing cleans at least two of the surfaces, and it’s the only tool that can really get into the spaces between teeth and gums. Wheeler calls flossing the “overlooked fountain of youth.”

Preventing Gum Disease

Gum disease is relatively common and can destroy teeth and gums. Left untreated, it can even get into the jawbone that holds teeth in place—and makes up 33% of your face. Preserving teeth, bone and gum isn’t just important for health, but also aesthetics. However, the quality of the floss can also make a difference.

You’ll find floss made of either Teflon or nylon, and one isn’t better than the other. However, if you have generous spaces between the teeth and/or gum recession, you’ll get better results with wider, flatter floss. Teeth that are close together benefit from a thin floss that’s resistant to shredding.

Of course, orthodontic patients have unique challenges. Floss threaders, Super Floss and water picks might be more comfortable. Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter (within reason!) what type of floss you use as long as you’re flossing. Choosing a mint-flavored floss can help give you the feeling of a freshly brushed mouth, and encourages some patients to floss more regularly.

Will flossing be on your upcoming New Year’s resolution list?