When it comes to preventing tooth decay, when it comes to stopping gum disease in its ugly, bloody, swollen tracks, dentists agree on one thing–you’ve got to floss and you’ve got to do it consistently and in the right manner. Now, flossing may seem like a simple thing, and really it is. Yet lots of people ignore easy but crucial tasks in favor of difficult but trivial ones. It’s easy, to be sure, to floss three times a day, but who actually does it? Do you? I sure don’t. You forget, you’re in a hurry, etc. But again, dentists from all over the place are saying that flossing regularly and properly may be the most important habit you ever develop when it comes to the health of your teeth.
How does one floss properly? Proper flossing means flossing, like brushing, at least twice a day, once when you awaken and once before dreamland. Why when you waken, even though you haven’t been eating beef jerky in your sleep? Well, when you floss properly you’re looking for more than just large, obvious chunks of food. Bacteria build quite quickly in the mouth, and that stuff needs to be flossed away too. The mouth is quite a strange area, quite alien and gross. It’s this warm, wet, humid place, always shut away from the air and always dark, and always receiving new things into it that its special conditions rot immediately. Thus the importance of proper flossing. Proper flossing means that you get a good, strong, comfortable dental floss right away. Some people prefer the fine hard dental floss that’s been around for a while and that’s likely sitting in your bathroom cupboard right now. Others prefer more recent develops, such as sponge-like strands that narrow when sliding down between the teeth and expand when sliding back out again, thus reaching a wider area than otherwise.
Whichever kind of floss you choose, proper flossing means consistent flossing and proper flossing means thorough flossing. Proper flossing means that you floss between every tooth, get it from a number of angles, and so forth. Proper flossing also means proper teeth, so it’s to everyone’s advantage to reconsider their flossing habits, proper or not, as soon as they can.
The health of your teeth means, sometimes, your health in general. Even when teeth problems aren’t as serious as all that, they can cause a person unbearable pain and discomfort. A cavity, for example, if left too long unfilled, can haunt you day and night. It’ll keep you from sleeping. It’ll keep you from eating. The smallest noises make you feel as though your head’s coming apart. The slightest jolt and you’re wishing for instant death. And if cold or heat should touch that cavity–forget it, there aren’t words to describe it. Paralyzing, maybe, if by paralyzing you mean that not only you but the whole world is paralyzed. Tooth pain is ugly and wretched indeed. Tooth pain (and worse) can be avoided by proper tooth care. Proper tooth care is a simple process, it doesn’t take much time, it doesn’t take much money. Improperly cared for teeth, contrariwise, create complicated processes, vastly time-consuming, that’ll suck the dollars from your wallet as if with an industrial-strength vacuum cleaner.
We all know these basic tooth-care steps, we’ve been hearing about them since we were tots. Brush your teeth. Brush carefully, take your time. Brush your gums. Brush gently but firmly, change the rotation of the brush, brush the fronts of your teeth, brush their cute little behinds, brush and brush, give it at least five minutes, at least twice a day, once in the morning after waking up and once in the evening when retiring. Easy!
Another part of tooth care, of course, is diet, and diet’s a big subject, but we can quickly name two things that’ll help your teeth right away. One, obviously, is that, considering the fact that most people eat too much sugar, everyone would probably benefit dramatically from an immediate decrease in sugar intake, even if undramatic. The other is that most people don’t get enough calcium, even though calcium is a hugely important mineral for their bodies, bones and teeth. Take more calcium, take a mineral pill in the morning, and so on, and your teeth will be healthier, stronger, and more likely to stay that way into old age. Combine all of this with proper flossing and you will have a healthier, happier mouth.