Although there has been some recent debate on the benefits of cleaning between your teeth, flossing is an essential part of keeping your teeth and gums healthy. The American Dental Association recommends cleaning between teeth once per day. In an August 2016 statement The US Department of Health and Human Services said flossing “is an important oral hygiene practice”, yet too few people take the time to floss.
In addition to regular brushing, cleaning between your teeth helps remove plaque, the sticky film that builds up on your teeth after eating. Plaque contains bacteria that feed on leftover food and sugar in your mouth, releasing an acid that erodes the outer surface of your teeth and causing cavities. Plaque that is not completely removed from teeth hardens into tartar, which only your dentist can remove with special instruments. Tartar that collects at the gum line can lead to gum disease.
The most important thing about cleaning between your teeth is to just do it! As long as you do a thorough job, it doesn’t matter if you floss before or after brushing. Whether you have braces, crowns, bridges, periodontal issues or sensitivity, Drs. Gretchen and Tom can help guide you on which flossing products will be most effective for your situation. Just a few extra minutes added to your dental routine each day can make a huge difference in the look and health of your smile!