We all grow up hearing it is important to brush our teeth twice daily and we all somewhat understand the importance of proper thorough teeth brushing. However, does brushing alone really keep our mouths as clean as we hope? Perhaps this is why our dentists are constantly reminding us to brush and floss to maintain proper dental hygiene at home. While brushing and flossing may sound simple, most people significantly neglect brushing oral surfaces and tend to use floss insufficiently. Regular flossing has many benefits, including limiting the development of cavities, but it is important to make it a habit.

Flossing plays an important role in dental health. Unlike a toothbrush, which cleans the tops and outer surfaces of the teeth and gums, floss is an interdental cleaner. It is designed specifically to clean the tight spaces between the teeth and the gap between the base of the teeth and the gums. These are places that a toothbrush cannot reach. While antimicrobial mouthwash can kill the bacteria that form plaque, it cannot remove the stubborn tartar and bits of food that may lodge in these places.

Not only can proper oral hygiene help to keep your breath fresh and your teeth and gums healthy, it may also help to prevent periodontal disease. Periodontal disease, in turn, is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Because of this, practicing good oral hygiene may help keep more than just your mouth healthy.

Another benefit of flossing is increasing blood circulation in your gums. Gum stimulation is a necessary means of keeping your gum tissues healthy; strong gums are the foundation of your teeth.

Next time you reach for your toothbrush, remember to reach for your floss as well. The simple habit of flossing at least once a day may improve not only your smile, but also your overall health.

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