You might be interested in the variety of at-home tooth-bleaching products that are available if you think your pearly whites have become off-white. But remember that no teeth whitening product replaces twice-daily tooth brushing and daily flossing as a consistent dental care routine.
Stains can adhere to both plaque and tartar build-up. Regular use of dental floss removes plaque, helping to prevent the build-up of plaque, which can lead to tartar.
Need another reason to floss? Simply flossing your teeth can make them look whiter by removing plaque and excess food particles that you may not see in the mirror or in areas that your toothbrush doesn’t reach.
Try re-committing to daily flossing and twice-daily tooth brushing with a whitening toothpaste, which can improve the appearance of stained teeth.
Make flossing your teeth a regular, daily part of your dental care routine, and you may be more likely to keep your teeth and less likely to need dentures later in life.
The importance of daily flossing
Daily flossing is an important component of plaque removal and keeping your mouth healthy, but it’s one that many people avoid because they find flossing painful. The right flossing products can make flossing easy and painless.
Regular interdental cleaning with floss or interdental brushes removes plaque, thereby removing the bacteria in plaque from your mouth.
Many people think that standard dental floss is the only effective product for tooth flossing. But there are many products to meet the needs of people of all ages with any type of dental condition. If one of these conditions applies to you, consider some specialised flossing options:
- You have braces. If you wear braces or have dentures, that doesn’t mean that you can’t floss. Try a specialised floss that has a stiff end that you can thread beneath the main wire of your braces and a spongy component that slides easily between the teeth
- You have a child. It’s important to teach children the benefits of flossing at a young age. You can start teaching children to floss their teeth at about age 5-7 years, but many children are less than enthusiastic, and they may complain that flossing hurts or is difficult.
How flossing can whiten your teeth
Whitening floss is one of the many options now available to you when choosing a dental floss.
This is because floss brands are looking to capitalize on the increasing popularity of tooth-whitening products, which also include whitening toothpastes and whitening mouthwash.
Some types of whitening floss are coated with microscopic abrasive silica particles. Others are treated with compounds such as calcium peroxide that can help dissolve some of the excess proteins that saliva deposits on the teeth that can cause discoloration.
But the main way that floss improves the appearance of the teeth is by removing food particles and bacterial plaque instead of bleaching teeth, to keep your gums healthy. Your teeth will look brighter and healthier if you maintain healthy gums, which you can do by flossing daily with whitening floss or any other type of floss that you like.
Keep in mind that whitening floss, whitening mouthwash, and whitening toothpaste can only provide modest changes in tooth colour. If you have severely stained teeth, tooth-coloured crowns, or implants, you may require special attention to make them whiter. In that case, talk to your dentist.
How flossing daily fights bad breath and boosts self-esteem
It’s best to face life with confidence. So if you suffer from chronic bad breath (also known as halitosis), you have one more reason to floss your teeth daily. Flossing in particular can play a key role in preventing bad breath because flossing, when done correctly, helps to remove the small particles of food that get stuck between your teeth and around your gums—those tricky places where some toothbrushes can’t quite reach.
When food particles aren’t removed, they start to collect bacteria, which can cause bad breath. Of course some foods, such as garlic, cause bad breath that may persist until your body has processed that spicy meal.
Good oral hygiene is the best way to prevent bad breath, so be sure to brush and floss daily and schedule regular dental check-ups. If bad breath persists despite good oral care, ask your dentist and doctor—in some cases persistent bad breath may indicate a serious medical condition such as bronchitis, diabetes or liver problems.
Flossing for healthy gums
Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. It is also the most treatable. Interdental cleaning with floss or interdental brushes is a step to keeping your gums healthy.
Many people who suffer from sensitive or bleeding gums may be tempted to avoid interdental cleaning for fear of making their bleeding gums worse. But in fact, interdental cleaning can improve the health of your gums, thereby helping to prevent them from bleeding.
Flossing for good health
Daily flossing doesn’t just keep your teeth healthy—practising good oral hygiene contributes to your health in other ways, too.
In addition, flossing gives you the opportunity to regularly examine your mouth for any swelling or redness at your tongue, and gums. Certain conditions including some cancers, HIV/AIDS, substance abuse and eating disorders can cause lesions in your mouth and redness and swelling of the gums.
Even if you were inconsistent about interdental cleaning during your childhood or teen years, it’s never too late to start or maintain good oral hygiene, and you can improve the health of your gums with the right floss product. Specialised floss products are designed to be soft and comfortable for sensitive gums but strong enough to remove plaque build-up from around the teeth.
While periodontal disease is not the primary cause for pulpal death, chronically unhealthy gums can increase your risk of losing your teeth or needing a root canal. And even though twice-daily tooth brushing is essential for good oral hygiene, brushing alone may not protect you from gum disease and the tooth loss that can result.