The reason we clean our teeth is not to remove food!
Bacterias are the villains. They are the target!
If we can remove bacterias from the surfaces of our teeth, we will not allow them to get organised enough to cause problems to our teeth.
Of course it is important to clean the food, but this is secondary. Food becomes relevant just because it is food for the bacterias as well. More food stuck, more bacterias growing and “eating” as well.
But the bacterias will survive even if we don’t eat anything. So, again, we need to clean all surfaces of our teeth even if we just drink water for the whole day.
Most of us find flossing very demanding and dull. Some even hate flossing as it can be difficult to reach the back teeth, can have bleeding and discomfort or we can even think it is pointless.
Mouthwash marketing strategies claiming to kill bacterias can contribute to perpetuate certain misunderstandings about cleaning our mouth. This can lead us to conclude that if there is no food stuck between my teeth or if I rinse my mouth with one of them, I need no floss. That is very wrong and dangerous.
The surfaces of our teeth which are facing another tooth (interdentally) are large and hidden. The brush will never touch this area to remove the bacterias and the mouthwash will not kill the bacterias from these surfaces. We need to touch them within 24 hours to avoid the organisation of bacterial plaque and subsequent gum disease.
Compared to all demands of healthy lifestyle, flossing is not a big deal. The lack of habit is the main problem.
If you have difficulties holding the floss, try to use mounted flosses or interdental brushes.
Please keep in mind that flossing is easy to do and easy not do do, its your choice!
London dentist registered in the UK since 2008. His mission is to improve patient health & appearance, self-confidence and overall quality of life.