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Craig A. Smith, DDS
Spring Cleaning Includes Your Teeth
Craig A. Smith, DDS

Spring Cleaning Includes Your Teeth

With spring approaching, a fresh start with dental care is timely. If you are making plans for spring cleaning around the house, why not start in the bathroom and floss your teeth and gums? Dental floss is a simple cleaning method with fast results.
Why Is Flossing Important?
Proper flossing removes the food particles, plaque, and bacteria between your teeth and gums that a toothbrush cant reach. This helps to keep your gums healthy, your breath fresher, and your teeth from decaying quickly.
According to the American Dental Hygienists Association, Americans spend more than $2 billion a year on toothpaste, dental floss, and mouthwash. At the same time, more than 75% of Americans have some form of periodontal disease. Its not enough simply to buy dental care products; frequent and consistent use is critical for success.
The good news is that approximately 55% of all people who do floss, do it every day. The bad news is that more than 88% do not floss frequently enough, and 61% of the people who do floss, do not floss correctly.
How Do I Floss?
To floss your teeth
1. Pull a length of floss from the dispenser, and wrap it around both of your middle fingers. Leave about 2 inches between your fingers.
2. Use your index fingers to slide the floss gently between two of your teeth.
3. Wrap the floss into a C shape at the base of your tooth, just under the gumline. Rub the floss gently up and down your tooth, 3-6 times. Floss both sides of your tooth.
4. Advance the floss between your fingers as you repeat with every tooth.
5. Throw away the floss and wash your hands when finished.
Whats Your Excuse?
Do any of these excuses for not flossing sound familiar?
“Floss tastes bad” or “Flossing feels strange.”
There are many types of floss (flavored, plain, waxed, thick, thin) and flossing aids to choose. Experiment until you find one that you like.
“My gums bleed or hurt when I floss, so I stopped.”
Bleeding gums are a sure sign of gingivitis. Flossing can help prevent gingivitis from developing into more serious forms of periodontal disease.
“Im afraid the floss will yank my teeth out.”
Actually, the opposite is true. If you dont floss and periodontal disease escalates into bone or ligament loss, your teeth will fall out.
“My fingers are too big” or “Ive got arthritis.”
If holding the floss between your fingers is difficult, try using manual or electric flossing aids.
“I cant floss because I have orthodontic braces/dentures/bridges.”
Ask us for flossing techniques that will help preserve these important financial investments.
“My dental hygienist flosses my teeth, so I dont need to do it.”
Flossing twice per year at your regular dental checkup will not prevent tooth decay or periodontal disease. Flossing is a critical part of your daily homecare routine.
“Im too busy with the children.”
There are flosses and flossing aids designed for children, so you and your children can create a flossing routine together.
“Im too busy, period.”
A typical dental care routine normally takes a maximum of 10 minutes. Doesnt it make sense to invest a few minutes now to avoid hours of restorative treatment or dental pain later?
Stop making excuses for why you cant floss. Instead, focus on the healthy benefits. And be sure to schedule a “spring cleaning” dental checkup.

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