One area of dental care that people often neglect is flossing. Most people brush daily, but a minority floss regularly. Gum disease often begins at the gum line between the teeth. Most of the time flossing is the only way to remove the plaque that accumulates here. Since gum disease is one of the most common health maladies people acquire, it makes sense to floss. Not only can gum disease cause dental problems such as loose teeth and bad breath, some research has also linked gum disease to more ominous general health problems such as heart disease and diabetes. Many people who have irritated, bleeding gums are afraid to floss for fear of making it worse, but in fact, flossing can improve the health of your gums. This will actually cause bleeding to decrease.
Here are a few (several) tips to better flossing:
- Wind about 18 inches of floss around middle fingers. This will anchor the floss so that it does not slip. I stress middle fingers because it will leave index fingers and thumbs available to direct floss between teeth.
- Gently slide floss between teeth being sure to direct below gum line.
- Be sure to direct floss against both teeth next to each space, not simply popping in and back out. This motion will ensure both teeth are cleaned below the gum line.
You can see that proper flossing can be of great help in maintaining a healthy mouth.
Watch this accompanying video to give you a better understanding of flossing.
Remember: You might be a redneck if you have ever flossed with the little red ring around the piece of bologna.
- Jeff Foxworthy