What’s the deal with flossing?

Let’s face it, many people don’t floss. A hygienist’s mantra might as well be “You must floss daily! Or your teeth will fall out!” How many of us actually heed this advice? Most think, “Come on, that’s not going to happen.”

There is truth to this mantra. Is it an exaggeration? Perhaps. The point is this, brushing alone cannot reach all those “in-between” spots. That’s where floss comes in. Why should you care about those spots? Let’s go back to the basics.

Q: Why do we brush in the first place?

A: It is to remove PLAQUE, a biofilm that forms on your teeth daily. It is white and soft, but sticky.

Q: Why do we need to remove plaque from our teeth?

A: If plaque is not removed, it will soon become hardened by minerals in your saliva. The plaque changes into something called, TARTAR, or CALCULUS (no, not the dreaded math class).

Q: Why should I care if my plaque turns into tartar?

A: While plaque is easily removed by brushing and flossing, tartar is not. Once it is stuck to your teeth, it cannot be removed, except by a dentist or hygienist. Tartar is a breeding ground of bacteria and minerals. Overtime, it causes inflammation, bleeding, and eventually, loss of bone around the teeth if not removed. Most of these symptoms will go unnoticed by the patient, because it doesn’t cause pain in the initial stages.

Q: Are there other benefits to flossing?

A: YES! It helps with bad breath, believe it or not! The more plaque you can remove on a daily basis, with brushing your teeth and tongue, in addition to flossing, the fresher your breath will be!