Why Are We So Reluctant To Use Dental Floss?

We all brush our teeth daily, so why don’t many of us perform this important task as well?

Teeth flossingFor most of us, cleaning our teeth is a habit ingrained from when we were young. Most of us will have heard the cry to ‘brush your teeth before you get into bed’ and most of us will continue to do this both morning and night for the rest of our lives.

How many of us though, can remember being told to floss between their teeth? Probably not very many. Despite it being an important aspect of home oral health care, far too few of us, thought to be around one in five, actually do this on a daily basis.

Why the reluctance?

To do almost anything well requires a little effort. Even cleaning our teeth correctly needs an element of focus if we are to avoid just being brushing superficially on the surface. Care needs to be taken to angle the brush so that the gum line is cleaned as well. The back of the rear teeth sometimes gets neglected by those who only give their teeth a cursory brushing, often leading to tooth decay in this area.

Perhaps then, this is the key to the problem? If some of us struggle to brush our teeth diligently, then flossing may just seem like too much hassle. But of course this would be a mistake.

Is flossing ‘fiddly’?

At the Confidental Clinic in Streatham, we hear a lot of patients say that they don’t floss because it is so fiddly, time consuming and almost impossible to do. This is what we alluded to earlier, that some of us don’t make enough effort to really look after our teeth and simply go through the motions instead.

So, is flossing fiddly? Well, yes, when you first attempt it, it probably is, but did you first get on a pushbike and away you went or did you wobble and possibly fall a few times first? Flossing is just the same. It can be fiddly when you first attempt it, but with a little persistence and practice, you will be able to floss effectively and quickly without giving it too much thought.

Our dentists and hygienists are always happy to demonstrate how to do it effectively, quickly and with one simple exercise. Do it right and you will have further reduced the chances of a number of dental problems.

Why should I bother?

Flossing between our teeth is very important for a number of reasons. Although brushing and even mouthwash will help to remove some of the food and ‘bad’ bacteria from between the teeth and the gum line, it will not remove it all. Most people will end up with minute pieces of food and bacteria trapped in these hard to reach places, especially where teeth are unevenly spaced. When this is left undisturbed, there are two particular problems that are likely to occur.

Tooth decay

Any food that remains trapped between our teeth will gradually start to damage the enamel of our teeth. As this becomes compromised, bacteria enter into the softer dentin layer beneath it. When this happens, tooth decay starts to occur and cavities are formed. Teeth affected in this way can be filled without popular tooth coloured dental fillings, of course, but it is better to avoid the problem in the first instance. Making sure that you have regular check ups at our Streatham dental clinic should mean that any fillings are relatively small, but neglecting this can lead to larger fillings, root canal infections and even tooth loss.

Gum disease

Some people don’t take gum disease seriously, but it can not only cause antisocial problems such as bad breath, but can also lead to painful inflamed gums and even tooth loss if treatment isn’t provided early enough. Keeping our gums clean can be difficult and the use of dental floss is a great tool for helping us to achieve this.

Making a start

Having hopefully convinced you that flossing is something that is well worthwhile, we recommend that, rather than through trial and error, you ask one of our dental team to show you how it should be done. Some methods that can be found online are not as effective as they could be and, as the old saying goes, ‘if you are going to do something, you may as well do it right’.

We are always happy to offer advice and help to our patients to help them get the basics of home oral care right and the addition of flossing to your daily routine can make a real difference.

To get started, and to have a thorough initial gum health check, why not make an appointment to see our Streatham based dental hygienist? You can make appointments by calling the Confidental Clinic on 020 8674 2052 and our team looks forward to welcoming you.