Do you floss every day? If not, you’re far from alone. Many Americans hate flossing—and will try to avoid it at all costs. According to a 2014 survey, just 4 in 10 American adults floss their teeth daily—and 20% never floss at all!
While it’s tempting to fudge the truth and say you floss more than you do when you’re sitting in the dentist chair, don’t try to deny it—your dentist can tell. Aside from avoiding an embarrassing moment at the dentist’s office, however, there are some other fantastic benefits to flossing. Let’s take a look at what you could be missing out on by skipping daily flossing.
1. Reduced Risk for Gum Disease
According to the CDC, about half of all Americans over 30 have periodontal disease, a figure that only rises with age. There are many health problems associated with gum disease if left untreated: loose or missing teeth, bleeding, inflamed gums, bone loss, and other oral health problems. Bacteria that enters the bloodstream causes other problems, and has even been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. Flossing can help prevent the plaque buildup that irritates the gums and leads to gum disease over time. Combined with twice daily brushing and regular professional cleanings, flossing is a great way to help prevent gum disease.
2. Better Plaque Removal
Brushing removes the plaque from the surface of the teeth, but it can’t reach the plaque hidden in the nooks and crannies between the teeth. Over time, that plaque hardens and turns into tartar, which can cause tooth decay, cavities, and gum inflammation.
3. Fresher Breath
Plaque harbors bacteria, which doesn’t do your breath any favors. Sure, you brush with that minty fresh toothpaste, but have you ever noticed that even toothpaste can’t always mask bad breath? Flossing removes more plaque from your mouth than brushing alone, which can help keep your mouth fresher and cleaner.
4. Reduced Risk for Diabetes and Heart Disease
If you could do something in two minutes a day that could help reduce your risk for diabetes and heart disease, wouldn’t you do it? When you think about flossing like this, it becomes a no-brainer. While flossing doesn’t directly prevent these serious diseases, its role in gum health can become important for reducing risks of heart disease and diabetes. Periodontal (gum) disease has been linked to both conditions, due to inflammation in the gums, so pick up your floss and keep those gums healthy!
5. Fewer Cavities
Most people don’t get through life without a few cavities, but flossing is a great tool for making them less likely. Plaque between the teeth can cause cavities, since the toothbrush can’t reach those small spaces. Fortunately, floss can!
Earlier in 2016, news from the AP emerged that there was little evidence linking flossing to health benefits. Part of this revelation, however, was likely due to the fact that large-scale studies are expensive, and few have been conducted on the benefits of flossing. Results of sporadic studies don’t take into account the evidence dentists see on an everyday basis that suggests flossing is beneficial. There’s a reason your dentist can tell whether you floss or not: your gums and overall oral health tends to be better when you put effort into regular interdental cleaning. You’ve got nothing to lose and a lot to gain from daily flossing.
Why? Because it’s a low-cost activity that poses little to no risk, and it doesn’t take long when added to your daily oral hygiene routine. However, it is important to keep in mind that technique has a lot to do with how effective flossing can be. Ask your dental hygienist for instructions on how to floss for best results.
Interdental Cleaning Options
Flossing is just one way of cleaning between your teeth. The proper term for this activity is “interdental” cleaning, and it can be done using several tools. Aside from dental floss, you can clean between your teeth using:
- Plastic, disposable “flossers”
- Oral irrigators
- Wooden sticks
- Small brushes
Unless your dentist recommends using a different tool, however, it’s usually best to stick with plain floss for cleaning between your teeth.
Choosing the Right Dentist
Let’s face it: many people don’t have kind feelings about going to the dentist. But what if it didn’t have to be that way? Choosing a dentist who makes you feel comfortable and safe is key to staying on top of your oral health, and can even make those cleanings less unpleasant. If you’re looking for an experienced dentist with a track record of great results and happy patients in Miami, then schedule an appointment with nationally-acclaimed dentist Dr. Gallardo. Our team can handle any oral health issue you might be concerned about with compassion and skill. Call 305-447-1447 today to schedule your appointment!