Using it once a day helps fight decay

Some people loop. Some people spool. Others simply refuse. The verdict is in: Flossing is one of the best things you can ever do to take care of your teeth. “Flossing every 24 hours to break up plaque is imperative for good oral health,” says Gordon Isbell, DMD, MAGD, spokesperson for the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD).

An article in the October 2005 issue of AGD Impact describes how floss is the single most important factor in preventing periodontal disease, which affects more than 50 percent of adults.

Flossing, which is just as important as brushing, helps remove the plaque and debris that stick to teeth and gums in between the teeth. It also helps polish the tooth’s surface and control bad breath.

flossing_summer2006Dental floss can be waxed or unwaxed, flavored and unflavored, wide and regular. All floss helps clean and remove plaque. Wider floss, also known as dental tape, may help people with a lot of bridgework and is usually recommended when the spaces between teeth are wide. Waxed floss can be easier to slide between teeth with very little space between. Unwaxed floss makes a squeaking sound which let the user know their teeth are clean.

Recently, electric flossers have entered the scene, but most dentists contend there is no substitute for manually flossing one’s teeth.

“Electric flossing is no substitute, but if someone has a disability (and can’t manually floss,) it is better than nothing,” says Dr. Isbell.

Similarly, dentists say that waterpicks should not be used as a substitute for brushing and flossing because they don’t remove plaque. Dentists do recommend waterpicks for people with gum disease who have trouble flossing because of pain.

Benefits of flossing:

  • Decreased risk of gum disease
  • Better breath
  • Removes plaque in between teeth
  • Polishes tooth surfaces