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Dental Wish: Flossing Teeth

September 16, 2018
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Posted By: Dr. Robert Zhang
teeth cleaning alderley qld

The tooth fairy has arrived at Alderley Dental and kindly granted the dental team one wish: If you could change one thing about how people look after their teeth, what would it be?

After a bit of careful consideration, which is to be expected if you only have one wish, the dentists at Alderley Dental clearly declare: 'Flossing teeth!' The team from Alderley Dental’s one dental wish would be that everyone flossed their teeth. 

Find Out Why Flossing Teeth Is So Important To Our Alderley QLD Staff

So why would dentists choose flossing as their one wish for people to do? 

If you’re not flossing, you’re not brushing properly

The number one reason people should floss their teeth is that if they’re not flossing, they’re not actually cleaning in between their teeth. Everyone nowadays is well aware of the importance of brushing their teeth with a toothbrush. They do it multiple times a day to remove bacteria and the plaque that’s building up on their teeth. But what people don’t realise is that by not flossing their teeth they’re actually leaving a vast majority of the tooth surface uncleaned.

We often use the following analogy with our patients:

You wouldn’t go to bed without brushing your teeth, and it’s often the first thing you do in the morning as well. But by not flossing, you’re leaving a large part of the teeth unbrushed, dirty and susceptible to all kinds of dental issues.

Five Tooth Surfaces To Clean

Make flossing teeth a part of your brushing routine. If you are going to clean your teeth properly, there are five tooth surfaces to consider.

Brushing is essential to clean three out of the five surfaces of the tooth. That is:

  • the front of the tooth (or check the side)
  • the back of the tooth (also known as the tongue),
  • and the top of the tooth (the bit you bite with).

The other two surfaces, the sides of the teeth or the in-between surfaces that touch the neighbouring tooth, can’t be cleared effectively with a toothbrush simply because it can’t get access in. So essentially, by not flossing people are missing 2/5 of your daily tooth cleaning.

Why Is Flossing Your Teeth So Important?

Flossing is the only way to clean in between your teeth. What gets trapped in there and the bacteria that grows when you don’t floss is often the source of bad breath, gum disease, decay. In between the teeth is a perfectly sheltered area for germs and bacteria to live and run wild.

How Many Times A Day Should You Floss Your Teeth?

In an ideal ‘dental’ world everyone would floss each time they brush their teeth so that we would recommend at least twice a day.

Our Top Tips For Flossing Your Teeth

Here are a couple of our top tips and recommendations when it comes to flossing your teeth and making it an effective part of your daily routine:

Floss at nighttime and do it before you brush

We recommend this for personal and psychological reasons. For many people, brushing is often the last thing you do at night time. You’re tired and, if you’re like us, you probably stayed up way too late anyway. So as soon as you have brushed your teeth, you just want to go straight to bed.

Make the small adjustment and floss before you brush

If you can make the small adjustment and floss before you brush, then you’ve got the flossing out of the way, and you’re free to move on to the next job after you have brushed. Basically, it’s trying to find a part of your nighttime routine where it fits enough to get it done.

Put the floss somewhere you go before brushing your teeth

Most people have their floss in the bathroom cabinet, but why not put it where you spend your time before you go to bed. For example, keep a piece of floss near where you watch TV. It’s much easier to integrate into your nighttime routine if you floss while watching TV. Then when you turn the TV off, you’re done, and all you have to do is brush your teeth.

Floss in a brushing-sliding motion

When you floss, don’t just go up and down. Many people just pop the floss in-between their teeth and go up and down. This doesn’t achieve the real aim of flossing, which is to clean the side of your tooth.

We Would Be Happy To Show You The Best Way To Care For Your Teeth

We describe flossing to my patients as a brushing motion. Wrap the floss around your tooth and guide it into the gap, then slide it side to side down so that it goes below the gum line, taking it as far as it will go. When you slide it underneath the gums and then make brush strokes like wrapping around the tooth up and down, you’re actually cleaning the side of the tooth. Then wrap it around the tooth on the other side of the same gap and repeat.

If you are still unsure, then we would recommend that you get your dentist to show you how to floss at your next dental visit. Just like us, many dentists are more than happy to show you and your family members how to floss in the most effective way. If you would like to book a dental appointment with us, please call 3856 2144, and our dentists would be happy to show you all of the best ways to care for your teeth.

Please book an appointment online or call our office on (07) 3856 2144 today.

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