A lot of people don’t like flossing, and it shows in the data. According to a recent study, over one third of the country says that they never floss. Some don’t believe that it helps. Others simply forget, particularly when they’re rushing off to work in the morning or tired late at night. But with the ability to clean between your teeth using traditional floss, dental flossers, and even battery-powered flossing devices, there’s no excuse not to floss on a regular basis. Regardless of how you do it, here’s a reminder from New York City Endodontics on why flossing is such an important factor towards maintaining a healthy smile.
When you don’t floss, you put yourself at risk of two major dental health issues in your mouth: Cavities between your teeth and gingivitis. Without flossing, you won’t be able to remove dental plaque buildup, and there are over 1,000 bacteria in dental plaque. These bacteria breed more bacteria and can sit on your gum tissue, causing it to become irritated, red, and inflamed.
This dental plaque buildup can lead to gingivitis, and by allowing the growth of harmful bacteria between the enamel of your teeth, you also run the risk of cavities developing in those areas you simply can’t reach with your toothbrush. Cavities between your teeth can lead to extensive dental procedures, and gingivitis — if left untreated — can progress to periodontal disease.
Some people don’t floss because it causes their gums to bleed. Well, while it may seem counterintuitive, that bleeding is occurring because you don’t floss enough. When you don’t floss and allow bacteria to sit on your gum line, your body sends red blood cells to help fight off any infections. So your gums will never stop bleeding if you don’t floss.
Heart disease, diabetes, stroke, rheumatoid arthritis and respiratory disease have all been linked to gum disease. That’s because the bacteria caused by periodontal disease can slip into the bloodstream and other areas of your body like your heart or respiratory tract. Thus, flossing cuts down on the risk of developing any of these serious conditions, and can even improve your condition if you’re already affected.
Hormonal changes mean that pregnant women are more susceptible to many dental issues, including gingivitis. And gum disease is linked to both premature births and low birth weights. So when you’re pregnant, you’re flossing for two.
You should floss at least once a day, ideally right before bed so you can remove any residual food and plaque from along your gum line and between your teeth. Use wax-coated floss so that it doesn’t shred between teeth. While it may seem like a hassle, flossing is an integral part of maintaining a strong oral health regimen.