“My gums bleed after flossing, so I should probably stop flossing.”
For those who are knowledgeable about dental health, you know how critical it is to floss every day, especially when showing signs of gum inflammation. Unfortunately, there are plenty of misconceptions about this oral hygiene task that can end up harming the health of your smile.
Last summer, flossing made headlines due to a controversial article from the Associated Press. In the article, the AP said that there’s actually very little evidence proving the effectiveness and importance of flossing. The American Dental Association was quick to respond by stating that while there are no substantial studies proving the benefits of flossing, it still provides a low-risk opportunity to disrupt plaque accumulation, which inadvertently decreases your chances of tooth decay and gum disease.
Flossing — It’s More Important Than You Think
Are you unsure about the importance of flossing? You’re certainly not alone!
We’ve heard numerous misconceptions and concerns about flossing over the years. Some of the most common flossing myths we hear include:
‘I don’t see food in my teeth, so I don’t need to floss.’
There are many patients that don’t floss unless there’s an annoying piece of food stuck in their teeth. It’s important to note that just because you don’t see food debris or plaque, doesn’t mean that they’re not there. In fact, plaque and food particles can tend to accumulate in areas we often don’t see at first glance, like underneath the gum line. With that being said, we strongly encourage our patients to floss every day regardless of how your smile may appear.
‘Using mouthwash is just as effective as flossing.’
Using mouthwash is a great additional step to maintaining excellent oral health, but it definitely doesn’t replace flossing. Using floss removes plaque wedged between teeth and underneath the gum line while mouthwash simply helps to wash away excess plaque. It’s important to remember that mouthwash is a supplementary hygienic practice that does not replace flossing.
‘My teeth are too close together to floss.’
Although it’s true that closely packed teeth can impact your ability to floss, there are different types of floss to help get around this issue. For extra tight spaces, patients can opt for thinner floss to clean between teeth that are close together. If you have concerns about overcrowded teeth, you may want to consider orthodontic treatment to help straighten your smile, which will end up making interdental cleaning easier in the long run.
‘I brush my teeth, so flossing isn’t that important.’
Brushing your teeth is just one aspect of great oral care. As with the case of using mouthwash, only brushing will still miss a significant portion of the tooth. If you brush each day but neglect flossing, you’re missing up to 35% of the tooth surface where plaque can easily hide away and spur on more serious dental health problems.
Have More Questions About Flossing? Contact Our Office!
A great oral hygiene routine is the backbone of preventive dental care. If you’re not currently flossing every day, we strongly encourage you to add this essential task to your daily routine.
For other concerns or questions regarding your dental health, contact our Amherst office today!