If you want to keep your teeth for a lifetime, your gums need to be kept healthy as well. The gums serve the vital function of holding your teeth in place. Just as a brick wall would not last long without mortar to hold the bricks in place, your teeth depend on your gums to keep them properly positioned.
The most common health threat to your gums is plaque forming below the gumline. This is why flossing is so important. It can get at the plaque your toothbrush cannot reach.
If plaque is allowed to remain, it irritates the gums, making them tender and prone to bleeding. If this plaque is allowed to harden, it becomes very difficult to remove. If this problem continues, the gums may pull away from the tooth, forming pockets. These pockets then become a great breeding ground for bacteria, leading to bone damage, and eventually, tooth loss. Avoid this terrible chain of events by remembering to floss at least once a day and spend at least two or three minutes each time.
When choosing floss one type of dental floss does not work for everyone. You can choose between waxed or unwaxed, flavored or unflavored, and regular or tape styles. In general, a waxed floss slides between the teeth easier than an unwaxed floss–especially helpful for those with minimal space between teeth. Flavored floss leaves a fresh taste in the mouth, and is especially nice for those times when brushing or rinsing is not possible. Tape floss is typically thicker than regular floss and is generally favored by people with wide gaps between their teeth. It may also be helpful for those with a lot of bridgework.
Some people with limited dexterity or arthritis cannot easily manipulate dental floss. These people may wish to try dental floss holders or intradental cleaners. Whatever your needs or preferences, there is a product to help you clean between the teeth and under the gumline. Brush and floss your teeth daily to help ensure the wellness of your teeth. A waterpick is not a substitute for brushing and flossing, but it is good for those who wear braces. It can reach places the toothbrush cannot. Just understand that, unlike flossing, waterpicks do not remove plaque.