From an early age, we are taught the importance of looking after our teeth. It becomes a daily routine to brush our teeth, something that we don’t even think about, and it’s a routine that stays with us throughout our lives. It is an important part of personal health, for teeth serve a very important purpose: without them, eating your favourite meals would be very difficult! Teeth can decay easily if they are not looked after, which results in the need to have fillings or extraction. So, what can we do to make sure we have healthy, clean teeth?
We’ve already mentioned how important regular brushing is, but have you considered flossing? It is highly recommended by dentists, and many believe it should be a vital part of your daily routine. Even if you have a busy schedule – perhaps you are a full-time student, a doctor or any of many people who are hard-pressed to find the time – you really should take a little extra time to start using dental floss, and for good reason.
About Plaque and Tartar
While a good toothbrush is a necessity, brushing will inevitably miss some of the harder to find scraps of food that may be found between the teeth. This will decay and cause plaque. Let us explain a little more about plaque, and the effect it has on the teeth.
Plaque is a natural film that builds up on the teeth; it is a natural result of eating, and it consists of bacteria. When we eat, the bacteria in the plaque will feed on the sugar in the food. This produces acids that eat into the enamel – the surface of the teeth – and cause tooth decay. Furthermore, plaque that is not removed by a combination of brushing and flossing will harden. This is called tartar, and it is the element that causes gum disease.
From the above it is easy to see why flossing is essential as, if the fragments caught between the teeth are not removed, they will cause a build-up of plaque and tartar. Top dentists recommend not only flossing, but also using the best electric toothbrush you can buy. Electric brushes provide more efficiency than manual, standard models, and are well worth investigating.
More About Dental Floss
What is dental floss? It is a very thin thread, usually made from nylon or plastic, that is used to run between the teeth to remove the troublesome fragments that the brush will miss. You can also buy dental tape, another version of flossing that uses a slightly thicker thread. It is important to remember that incorrect usage of dental floss can harm the gums, so it is essential to understand how to use it properly. Your dentist will give you advice on how to use dental floss, and how often, and we have a few useful tips for you.
First, we suggest you use a length of floss that is easy to manage; around 45cm (18 inches) is recommended. Make sure you pull the length of floss tight, so that it can easily be inserted in the small gaps between the teeth, and use it to scrape the sides, front and back of the teeth. This will remove any plaque, and prevent the build-up of tartar. Make sure the movement is away from the gums – this is essential to prevent gum damage – and ensure you clean every tooth.
Of course, the above sequence will take longer than brushing. This is why many people do not floss, but we cannot stress enough how important it is that you deal with the plaque problem. No matter how busy your life is, it is recommended you put some time aside to floss on a regular basis, as well as brushing daily.
Further Advice on Flossing
Some people find flossing difficult; if this is the case, you can get certain implements to help. As with all things to do with tooth and gum care, it is sensible to see a dentist for the best advice. Also, when you first start flossing, your gums may show some signs of bleeding. This is not necessarily a problem; it is simply that your gums are soft, and they will harden in a few days. If bleeding does persist, see your dentist for further advice.
Taking care of your teeth is just one of many areas of personal hygiene and health care, but it is one that is essential. Allow plaque to build, and it will quickly cause decay and create tartar. With regular flossing, and the best electric toothbrush, you can tackle plaque with ease, and flossing will soon become part of your daily routine. It is the only way to get rid of the hidden food fragments that get between the teeth, and to prevent tartar. If you have any concerns, talk to a dentist for advice and help on flossing, brushing and general tooth care.