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How Flossing Well Prevents Cavities

While brushing is often touted as the best defense against cavities, the truth is that brushing your teeth is only part of the equation. Flossing is an essential part of your oral care routine 一a part that helps prevent cavities. 

Here at Carnegie Dental Wellness, we always include a professional flossing during your routine dental cleaning, but we also want you to continue this cavity-fighting habit at home. 

Here’s a closer look at how flossing prevents cavities and tips to take your flossing game to the next level.

How flossing prevents cavities

To put it simply, flossing well prevents cavities by removing plaque from your teeth. Plaque is a bacteria-laden sticky substance that covers your teeth. The bacteria secrete acid, which eats away at your enamel, causing the telltale cavities. 

The best way to prevent cavities is to remove plaque regularly. Brushing your teeth removes plaque from the surface of your teeth, but it doesn’t remove all of the plaque. There are places, however 一 particularly along the edge of your gums and in between your teeth 一 where brushing alone can’t reach thoroughly. 

That’s when flossing becomes most pivotal. Flossing reaches where your toothbrush can’t and removes food debris and plaque. And because removing plaque is your best defense against cavities, flossing helps prevent cavities, especially interproximal cavities. An interproximal cavity is tooth decay that forms between two teeth. It’s often harder to spot with the naked eye but can quickly escalate and damage both affected teeth in the process.

Other benefits of flossing

Because flossing removes plaque, it also plays a big role in preventing bad breath (plaque is stinky!) and reducing your chances of developing gum disease.

Other evidence also suggests that regular brushing and flossing (and the resulting reduced chances of developing gum disease) may reduce your risk of heart disease.

Floss better with these tips

With so much riding on the proper flossing technique, Dr. Constantina Bacopoulou and her team are always happy to answer your oral hygiene questions, recommend the right oral care products for you, and teach you strategies for flossing well. 

In the meantime, here are several tips to make the most out of each flossing session. Start without 18 inches of dental floss and:

  • Slide 一but never snap 一 the floss between two teeth
  • Wrap the floss into a “C” shape so it hugs your tooth, allowing the floss to slide up and down the first tooth 
  • Repeat the same process on the other tooth 
  • Remove the floss gently and move to the next clean section of the floss 
  • Repeat the process for all teeth, even your molars

You may also find that flossing tools, such as pre-threaded flossers, water flossers, or other assistive tools, help you floss more thoroughly. 

Even with the best flossing technique, it’s not possible to avoid all cavities with a 100% certainty. If you suspect you have a cavity or would like to learn more about preventive dental care, call our Midtown West Manhattan office at 646-453-4770. You can also utilize our online booking system to request an appointment.