Recently, you may have read that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services omitted flossing from its annually released dietary guidelines, even though previous editions recommended regular flossing. What’s the deal? Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place to learn why flossing is still so important!
How does Flossing Help and Why is it so Crucial to my Oral Health?
While brushing is great for removing surface stains, your toothbrush can’t clean all of the nooks and crannies between your teeth. That’s what flossing is for! Flossing actually does 40% of the work of keeping your teeth clean by removing food debris and plaque. Plaque generates acid, which causes cavities, irritates the gums, hardens into tartar, and ultimately, leads to gum disease.
Gum disease isn’t just bad for your oral health, it’s also detrimental to your overall health. It’s been linked to a number of serious diseases including heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, clogged arteries, strokes, and cancer.
The bottom line? You need to floss.
Why did the Government Change its Guidelines on Flossing?
Actually, it didn’t. The Department of Health and Human Services later released a statement saying that while flossing was omitted in this edition of their dietary guidelines, the authors weren’t implying that it wasn’t an important oral hygiene practice.
The American Dental Association (ADA) agreed, stating that interdental cleaners, including floss “are an essential part of taking care of your teeth and gums.”
What are some Tips for Incorporating Flossing into my Regular Routine?
The easiest way to become a regular flosser is to turn flossing into a habit. Ideally, you’ll add this habit immediately after brushing your teeth before bedtime, but you could also choose to do it any time during the day. While we recommend nighttime, it’s more important that you floss daily.
We also advise our patients to choose a floss they like. A good floss will make you less inclined to skip your flossing sessions. For example, if you have sensitive gums or teeth that are tightly spaced, select a floss that glides gently between teeth.
How About my Children? Any Tricks for Getting Them to Floss?
With children, you want to start young—the earlier they make flossing a habit, the more likely they’ll do it without being nagged. Additionally, we encourage parents to make flossing fun. For instance, you can create a flossing chart and offer a sticker for each day that they remembered to floss. Alternatively, consider turning music on or telling them a story while they’re flossing. If they view the habit as an enjoyable one, they’ll be far more compliant about keeping up with it.
Finally, while it’s critical that you and your children floss, it’s no less important that you visit the dentist for 6-month checkups! If you’re due for an appointment, click here to access our online appointment request form or call our office at 419.752.9345. We are located in Marengo and offer weekend appointments for your convenience.
* We are currently running a special for new uninsured patients. For just $75, receive a dental exam, X-rays, and cleaning.