Flossing

No, I’m not talking about the urban meaning, i.e., showing off. I’m talking about flossing your pearly whites.

I’m willing to bet that many of you neglect to perform this important task on a regular basis. I am not lying when I tell you that I floss NIGHTLY, and have been doing so for the last two years. Yes, that’s right, not for the last several decades like you might have thought. I got lazy, as many people do, and my gum health suffered as a result. So when my dentist implored me to floss regularly during one visit in June of 2015, I actually heeded his advice and forced myself to re-learn the habit which my mother had gotten me into when I was a child, one which I would follow somewhat erratically as an adult.

Now, before you go thinking that I never flossed, let me just set the record straight by saying that though I wasn’t good about doing it every single day, I still flossed. I would typically be diligent about flossing daily about a week before each dental visit, and for about a month after those visits, but then I’d slack off, perhaps flossing once or twice a week when I remembered to do so. So it wasn’t a surprise that my gums would bleed every time I had my teeth professionally cleaned, and that my dentist would berate me.

Now I will not allow myself to go to sleep before flossing. I won’t even allow myself to brush my teeth at night before grabbing a pre-threaded flosser and going to town on those dental crevices. According to the American Dental Association, we all should clean between our teeth once a day. Why? Because interdental cleaning removes plaque, which is the main causative agent for formation of cavities and development of gum disease.

I personally can’t stand the idea of winding floss around my fingers. The thought of food-laden floss wrapped around my digits makes me squirm. In addition, I contend with forearm tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and arthritis in my dominant (left) hand, and as a result find it very challenging to wield a rope of dental floss. My solution is to purchase the pre-threaded flossers which are available. They’re easy to use and just as effective, provided you use them correctly. When flossing between teeth, gently arc around the column of the tooth to remove any plaque which has built up there.

Happy flossing! Your teeth and gums will thank you for it.

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