What is flossing? It is the use of a thin thread to get in between teeth to remove food and other particles.

When food gets trapped between the gums and the teeth, it breaks down. In the mouth, food is broken down to be carried through the digestive system. When it breaks down in the teeth, it can draw bacteria into the space which can lead to tooth decay, gingivitis and other forms of periodontal disease.

In an effort to stop this, we brush our teeth. But, even though toothbrushes are good, they can’t reach all places. The shape of the mouth is rounded and toothbrushes are straight. The bristles can only move across the gums and across the front, tops and backs of the teeth.

A lot of stuff can get missed, especially if you don’t have time to brush your teeth after every meal. Most people brush them in the morning and/or in the evening. That food can also erode the enamel on the teeth. Enamel is the hard substance that preserves the tooth. Once enamel is gone, it doesn’t come back.

The benefits of flossing are two-fold. Firstly, it removes food that has gotten caught between the teeth. That thin thread can slide down the tooth and underneath the gums to get anything hiding there. When particles get between the teeth and the gums, the gums can pull away and cause the teeth to become wobbly in places.

Secondly, flossing helps to massage the gums and prevent plaque from forming. Your brushing helps with this too, but plaque can form at the gum line when flossing is not done. Then, a dental professional will have to scale the teeth to remove it.

By removing these particles you avoid having bad breath from a build-up of bacteria. No one wants to have offending breath, so flossing can help ensure that is not an issue.

How often should you floss? Whenever you brush your teeth, also floss them. Dentists recommend it about twice a day. At least once will give you some benefit.

If you have never flossed up to this point, now is a great time to start. Get your teeth on the road to optimum health by flossing every day. If the string of floss is hard for you, there are individual flossing sticks that are easier to manage between the teeth.