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The Importance of Flossing
Flossing is perhaps even more important than brushing because it removes bacteria that are the precursors of plaque, which if left to fester will turn into tartar that cannot be removed by regular brushing or flossing.
Tartar is what eventually causes the damage that leads to decay and tooth loss. Most people are aware that flossing is a recommended practice for optimal oral health, yet nearly one-third of Americans never floss.
Remarkably, 1 in 5 Americans also does not brush their teeth twice a day.1 According to a recent investigation:2
- 32.4 percent of U.S. adults over the age of 30 never floss
- 37.3 percent floss, but not daily
- 30.3 percent floss on a daily basis
- More women than men never floss
- Low-income participants are less likely to floss than those in higher income brackets
Use a piece of floss that is about 15 to 18 inches long, wrapping each end around your index fingers. Slide the floss between your teeth and wrap it around the side of the tooth in the shape of a “C.”
Scrub the area by moving the floss up and down, and back and forth. Make sure you scrub both sides of the adjacent teeth before moving on to the next set.
If you have wider spaces between your teeth, use Super Floss, which is thicker.3 If dexterity is an issue, use soft plaque removers. Similar to toothpicks, they allow you to clean between your teeth with one hand. A double-pronged floss holder is another option.
While flossing, you can get telltale signs of potential health problems. For example, bleeding gums is a warning sign that you have bacteria in your mouth causing damage, which can easily spread through your blood stream and cause chronic inflammation elsewhere in your body.
The answer is to gently floss and brush more often, until your gums no longer bleed from brushing or flossing. If bleeding persists longer than a week, see a dentist.
Keep in mind that a Waterpik cannot replace flossing. These types of irrigation tools can also be hard on your gums. The truth is, if you brush and floss, you have no need for a Waterpik. That said, it can be beneficial if you have braces.