Did you know that plaque on your teeth is actually an inflammatory food chain?
Plaque is often thought of as being just little pieces of bacteria. But plaque also contains foods your teeth love to eat that are high in carbohydrates. These particular foods stick to plaque and are a nutrient-rich food source for bacteria. If these foods are left to fester on your teeth, they produce mucoproteins such as fibrin, mucopolysaccharides such as glucosamine, hyaluronic acid, and bacterial and viral byproducts in addition to other toxic compounds that can irritate and dry the tissue of your mouth. This mucus-like product sticks the plaque to your teeth and creates a hard, irritating coating on the soft tissue of your teeth. This coating of plaque is called “dental biofilm.”
Brushing and flossing the gum side of your mouth only seems to dislodge plaque from the exposed surfaces of your teeth.
To remove the biofilms from below the gums, you need to be able to reach the bacteria hidden behind the protective tissue that covers the root area of your teeth, as well as the bacteria that has been trapped deep in your periodontal pockets (where gum disease commonly begins).
If your brushing and flossing aren’t enough to tackle the plaque under your gums and behind your periodontal pockets, you have a problem that requires professional care! Plaque is the enemy of many dental concerns including cavities, sensitivity, gum disease, receding gums, and gingivitis.
Flossing can be a habit that is so easy to neglect… especially when you don’t feel the need to!
What is Interdental Flossing?
Before we dive into your dental routine check-up, it’s important to understand what a flossing tool can do.
Flossing tools are made with tiny plastic or nylon filaments that hold up to the challenge of inter-seal plaque and food debris between the teeth.
They work by being inserted into your tiny interdental spaces (the gaps between your teeth) and are designed to allow them to gently glide between and under your teeth.
They work equally well with natural nylon floss or floss made from polymers: such as polyvinyl alcohol. Some people, mostly younger teens, resist using them because they can be a challenge to thread, but they aren’t expensive!
So it’s a no-brainer that you need to floss every day between your teeth.
The Canadian Dental Association (CDA) advises flossing daily, and to follow this guideline strictly.
Best Way to Practice Your Flossing
Here’s a quick video to show how to floss… it’s a lot easier than it sounds! If you’ve never tried it before we recommend using it every day, in addition to your tooth-brushing routine. (This video starts at 2:56 – it moves a little fast but it only takes two minutes or so to follow the video instructions).
Once you’re done flossing the gum area, run it back and forth a few times to remove all of the floss strands that are caught in your teeth or to push the floss further under your teeth to a more recessed area. Make sure that your floss is clean (that is, it’s not full of food debris).
Flossing is essential to a healthy mouth. If you’ve never flossed, start off with just a few feet of floss – you can always add more, however, that seems a bit wasteful. You’ll save money in the end (as well as increase the lifespan of your floss).
Flossing is the easiest and one of the only ways to remove plaque from between your teeth.
The challenge is that plaque is so tiny… the size of several dust particles and too small for your brush to dislodge on its own.
A simple tip here is to take out a couple of inches of floss at a time. That way you can easily see what you are getting! Be sure to run the floss under the toothbrush as well to push it under the area that is difficult to clean.
Flossing is most effective when done daily.