Oral hygiene is not only important for the well-being of the teeth, it is also important for the well-being of a person. The mouth is the biggest and one of the most important gateways into our body; it allows in solids and liquids that are needed for the optimum performance of the organs of the body. Also, the mouth houses organs that influence the sound of our speech. Therefore, it is imperative that we take adequate care of this invaluable portal into the body.
Teeth brushing tops the list of the ways to care for the mouth; it is the only care that a lot of people think the mouth deserves every day. Brushing the teeth is good, but it is not the only care that should be given to the teeth on a regular basis. Flossing is another care that the teeth needs on a regular basis to stay clean and healthy.
What is Flossing?
Flossing can be defined as the process of cleaning the spaces around each tooth, using a thin thread called dental floss. A dental floss is soft on the teeth and gums. It is usually made of nylon, silk, or Teflon.
Why do I need to floss when I brush my teeth regularly?
If this is the question that is currently in your mind, I would like to answer that by letting you know that brushing alone cannot give your teeth the care it needs. In other words, brushing alone cannot make your teeth absolutely clean. If you want to know why, please continue reading.
The tooth has five surfaces (lingual, buccal, occlusal, mesial, and distal) and each of them should be cleaned, however, your brush can only clean or reach three surfaces. The two surfaces that your brush cannot reach are the mesial and the distal. These two tooth surfaces closely face the sides of other teeth, making it difficult for a brush to reach them and making it easy for food particles to get lodged in the teeth. When food particles lodge between the teeth and are left unclean, they combine with the bacteria in the mouth and become a sticky, film-like substance called plaque. Plaque, if left unremoved, eventually becomes hardened. A hardened plaque is called Tartar.
What are the effects of Plaque and Tartar?
Plaques generate acids, which can cause cavities and irritate the gums. Tartar paves the way for the development of oral diseases by bonding tightly to the enamel of the teeth. Some of the oral diseases that Tarter paves the way for are receding gums, gingivitis, and periodontitis. Periodontitis is a severe gum disease that can affect the bone surrounding the teeth and lead to teeth loss. Tartar can also cause bad breath and teeth discoloration.
An American Dental Association has stated that flossing in combination with tooth brushing can help prevent gum disease and halitosis. A 2011 review of trials concluded that flossing in addition to brushing reduces gingivitis compared to brushing alone.
If you do not want gum disease to ruin your beautiful smile, it is high time you made flossing your habit.