How Much of Your Tooth Do You Miss if You Forget to Floss?
Posted on 10/5/2020 by Dr. Saklofsky
Every good oral health care regimen includes brushing for two minutes at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Too many people mistakenly believe that brushing their teeth with no additional action is sufficient. However, this mistake can lead to tooth decay and gum disease due to harmful bacteria residing in the areas that brushing does not cover.
The Neglected Areas When Flossing is Skipped
Teeth have five surfaces. Brushing covers three surfaces, and flossing cleanses the other two surfaces. 40% of the teeth's surface is not cleaned when a patient does not floss. Flossing cleans the areas between teeth where bristles cannot reach. There are also areas near and under the gums that floss can access, but toothbrushes cannot. Harmful bacteria and the food particles which the bacteria eat can lead to a buildup of acid, which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
How to Floss
Our team recommends that our patients floss before brushing their teeth, as the act of brushing will remove the food particles and harmful bacteria that flossing dislodges. Patients should wrap the floss around their middle fingers so they can use their pointer fingers to guide the floss. Patients should use a see-saw motion to maneuver the floss into areas between teeth. Patients should then wrap one tooth, making a c-shape with the floss, and run the floss up and down the tooth two or three times. The floss should lightly touch the gums. Once one side is complete, the patient should use the c-shape to clean the other tooth. Patients should not forget and neglect the backs of their molars. If you have questions about your oral care regimen, contact our office for an appointment.