Recently, one of our patients started a debate: if you had to go without either brushing or flossing, which would it be? Many people think the answer is obvious, that brushing is far more important than flossing. But your dentist in Orange Park, Dr. Matthew Nawrocki, says not so fast. In this week’s blog post, we examine the battle between brushing vs. flossing — stick around to see which one comes out ahead.
Removing Plaque, Preventing Tartar
The goal of dental hygiene is to prevent cavities and gum disease to help you keep your teeth for life. By cleaning away plaque, or the clear, sticky substance that is constantly building up on the surface of your teeth, you prevent tartar — the hard, yellow stuff that only your dentist can remove.
Your toothbrush does a lot of work removing plaque from the surface of and around your teeth, but what about between your teeth? Or up in the little space between your tooth and your gum line? That’s what you need floss for. No matter how well you brush your teeth, there are some spaces you just can’t reach. The regular (and thorough) removal of plaque and tartar is vital for continued oral health.
Proof that Flossing Matters
It can be difficult to start a flossing habit, and part of the reason for that is because you don’t see the difference it makes right away. Most adults know they should floss, but it’s the doing it part that doesn’t quite catch on. If you need a little convincing that flossing makes a difference in your oral health, take a whiff of the dental floss the next time you’ve skipped a few days. It won’t smell pleasant — and that’s the bacteria you’re allowing to accumulate in your mouth when you don’t clean it properly.
And the Winner Is…
So, in the battle between the dental floss and your toothbrush, which is the victor? It’s… a tie! Brushing and flossing are both vital aspects of healthy teeth and gums, and you can’t leave one without the other.
To prevent cavities, gum disease, and tooth loss, make sure you are brushing your teeth for two minutes, at least twice a day, and flossing once a day.
How to Floss Properly
It’s probably been awhile since you learned the basics of flossing. To do it right, start with about 18 inches of clean floss, and wrap each end around your middle finger, leaving a space of about one inch to work with in between. Gently work the floss up between the teeth and around the gum line — imagine that the floss is rubbing away the bacteria. Work with a new area of floss each time to avoid re-distributing bacteria throughout your mouth.
Questions for Your Dentist?
Do you have follow-up questions about flossing, or how to do it right? Get in touch with Dr. Nawrocki to discuss the proper way to clean — or come see us for your six month checkup and cleaning! Request an appointment today.