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Physical Wellness

The Benefits of Flossing You Never Imagined

Nobody likes to floss, but clean teeth look better, smell better, and make you more popular with your family and friends. There are many benefits of flossing, but my favorite is kissing. I like kisses, whether I’m giving or receiving, and the best kisses come from clean and fresh mouths. That’s why I say oral care is one of the most important beauty tips.

There are other benefits that are less obvious. Dirty gums are more likely to get infected, and those germs can spill over into your blood leading to hospitalization and even death. A recent study says flossing can even protect you from Alzheimer’s disease.

Young man flossing his teeth in the bathroom while looking at the mirror.
What Are the Benefits of Flossing? (Image Source: Shutterstock)

The more you know about the short-term and long-term benefits of flossing, the easier it will be to make it a regular habit. Dentists have developed new tools like the Waterpik, so it’s now easier than ever to get a cleaner mouth. Keep reading to find out more about why flossing is such an important part of health and hygiene.

The Best Way to Brush and Floss

Most people do not brush and floss correctly. In the United States, about half brush and floss daily. If you brush and floss daily, you’ll automatically be ahead of the curve. I’m a competitive person, so I like it when I find easy ways to win.

If you’re already in the habit of brushing and flossing on a daily basis, bravo! But anything worth doing is worth doing right. There are some things you can do to get the most out of the experience, and they don’t even take a lot of time.

Father and son flossing their teeth in the bathroom.
Brush and Floss Everyday (Image Source: Shutterstock)

A common question about dental care is should you floss before or after brushing? Different sources will give you different answers to this one. My dentist says that flossing releases a lot of debris so it’s better to brush after flossing so you can “sweep up”.

There are a lot of different methods for flossing, and a debate is raging about the Waterpik vs flossing. Some dentists will tell you that the water picks and air picks aren’t as good as the old-fashioned floss. They claim air and water picks leave a biofilm behind that only flossing can remove.

But recent studies have shown water picks are as good as floss. In fact, some researchers determined water picks are superior to dental floss, at least in the short term. It’s hard to say who is right because both sides want was is best for you and your teeth.

If you’re not sure what method is best for you, check with your dentist or orthodontist and they can give you specialized advice.

One not-so-great feature of floss is that it is technique sensitive and can be rendered ineffective if not done correctly. You can learn how to floss properly in just a few minutes. The most important step is to make sure you get in between all of your teeth and do it on a daily basis.

Why Flossing is Important

The most important reason you should floss your teeth is so you don’t lose them. Before the invention of floss, most people needed dentures and false teeth. George Washington is famous for having wooden teeth that were painful to wear. That’s why he never smiled.

Flossing is sometimes inconvenient and uncomfortable, but a little bit of work right now will pay off big time in the long run. Proper oral care will help you avoid expensive and painful treatments later in life. It also makes you more pleasant to be around and more likely to get kissed. There are literally no downsides to brushing and flossing. If you want an easy win in your life, this is a great way to get a guaranteed victory.

The mechanics of why flossing is important are easy to understand. When we brush our teeth, the bristles of the toothbrush are only able to engage the front and back surfaces of the teeth assuming your teeth don’t have large gaps between them. However, what oftentimes happens is we forget about the debris and plaque in between the teeth. As that plaque and debris remain, over time it accumulates and irritates the gums thus causing them to become red and bleed. This is the first sign of gum disease known as gingivitis (gingiva-gums, itis-inflammation). When you floss you are effectively cleaning in between the teeth and scooping out the plaque that is created under and near the gums.

Once you get into the habit of having clean teeth, oral care will stop feeling like a chore. I can tell when my teeth aren’t clean, and it’s worse than having sand in my shoes. I feel a sense of relief as soon as I can get to the bathroom and clean up my mouth.

Upgrading Your Dental Care

Some alternatives to flossing have been introduced, however, my particular favorite and the one I believe is an adequate alternative to flossing is the Waterpik. This machine utilizes a water pressure jet to clean under the gums in a way that is similar to flossing. Using a Waterpik is easier to use than manual floss and people tend to be more consistent with its use. It is more feasible to reach places further in the back of the mouth and cleans more effectively than floss under obstructions like braces, retainers, and bridgework.

Many people have to use braces, but there are now ways to learn how to straighten your teeth at home. If you have braces or bridges in your mouth it is difficult to clean around these devices. But there is specialized floss for braces that ensures you can keep your teeth clean, even though it’s more difficult.

Man using a water flosser to floss his teeth.
Upgrade Your Dental Care (Image Source: Shutterstock)

You can use standard dental floss or dental picks, or you can use water picks and air picks.

Some wonder if activated charcoal is a safe and effective alternative to floss. While it should not replace flossing, activated charcoal is safe and can be used safely and effectively as long as you are responsible. I recommend you stick to reputable brands of floss and toothpaste if you want to use charcoal on your teeth.

Enjoy all the Benefits of Flossing

Thanks to new devices, everyone can choose their interdental cleaning device based on their lifestyle. I personally still use manual floss to clean between the teeth, but if you are going to go the route of the Waterpik, you do not need to buy a fancy one but rather one that fits your lifestyle.

How well are you at taking care of your teeth? If you find it tough to stick to a flossing routine, I recommend you give the Waterpik a try. After 30 days, you may find flossing more pleasant and easier to do.

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