You may not realize that even when your mouth is clean, bacteria lurk in the warm, damp cave, growing and eating incessantly. These naturally occurring microorganisms make a delicacy of even the most minute food particles, after which they deposit a sticky residue on the teeth called plaque. After you brush and floss, plaque accumulates throughout the day and night, especially in places where toothbrushes can’t reach.
Left to harden into tartar, plaque build-up irritates gums and can trigger inflammation and gum disease. Sound like a nasty situation? It doesn’t have to be. In fact, you can virtually eliminate plaque by carefully brushing and properly flossing every day.
It’s really that simple: your toothbrush cleans the tops and sides of your teeth, while the floss cleans between them. Flossing also polishes teeth and controls bad breath. An extra two or three minutes spent flossing each day can give you a huge advantage in the war against those bad bacteria. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing twice and flossing once daily.
Correct flossing is a fairly easy thing to learn: either via the spool method, if you’re quite dexterous, or via the loop method if you’re less nimble with your fingers.
If you’re not especially skilled with your hands, or if you have to floss someone else’s teeth for them, you may want to consider a pre-threaded flossing tool. These small plastic devices come in bulk packages at drugstores. They are rather inexpensive but very effective.