Why you should be flossing on a regular basis
Why you should be flossing on a regular basis
Most people include daily or twice-daily brushing of their teeth in their oral hygiene routine, but shockingly few people bother to floss – and no, we don’t mean the popular videogame dance that has taken the younger generation by storm – if only dental flossing were as popular! In fact, research has shown that around just 30% of American adults floss daily, while another third confess that they have never flossed their teeth at all.
So, what is flossing and why is it important? Here is what you need to know about this regularly overlooked aspect of your oral care.
What is flossing?
Flossing is a process designed to remove food particles and bacteria from the crevices between and around the teeth that are virtually impossible to reach with a regular toothbrush. Conventional flossing involves the use of an ultra-fine string, referred to as floss, which you pull tight and then pass back and forth between your teeth to force out any debris from between your teeth. However, there are now various other devices that can be used to floss your teeth including ultra-fine, interdental brushes and water flossers which use high-energy jets of water to push out particles and bacteria.
Many people find flossing a little tricky and time-consuming at first, and this can put them off undertaking it with any regularity. However, with practice it is possible to effectively and successfully floss your teeth in a relatively short space of time – and it is definitely time well spent.
Why it is important to floss regularly
There are numerous reasons why it is important to floss regularly. These include:
Reduced risk of periodontal disease
Also known as gum disease or periodontitis, periodontal disease is one of the biggest threats to our dental health. It occurs when plaque on the teeth spreads onto the gum tissue, causing irritation, soreness, and bleeding. If not treated promptly, the infection can set in, triggering severe pain, abscesses, tooth loss, bone deterioration and more. Poor oral health is one of the main reasons why people develop periodontal disease, and regular flossing can help to keep this progressive and debilitating condition at bay.
It isn’t just a periodontal disease that you need to worry about either. Cavities don’t just develop along the top of the teeth as so many people believe – they can also form along the sides of the teeth and near the gums. When you floss regularly, you are targeting a specific area where stubborn plaque and bacteria hide and this helps you to fight tooth decay.
Eliminate bad breath
Nobody wants to experience bad breath. It is unpleasant for you and those around you and is a sure sign that your oral hygiene is lacking. Many people try to mask the odor using mouthwash, gum, and mints, but this doesn’t deal with the root cause of the problem. Flossing goes a long way to helping to eliminate this problem.
Save money on your dental care
Maintaining great oral health at home is fairly inexpensive compared to the cost of dental treatments. A small investment in fluoride toothbrush, mouthwash, a great toothbrush and of course a supply of floss is pocket change when you consider how much you might spend on restorations required due to cavities and gum disease.
Better overall health and wellbeing
It is no secret that dental health is regularly being linked with overall health and with good reason. Studies have proven time and time again that patients with poor dental hygiene are considerably more likely to develop health conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, oral cancers and more. If you want your body to remain healthy, you need to keep your teeth in great condition too.
How often should I be flossing?
Ideally, dentists recommend that you should floss once every day, ideally just before you go to bed. This will ensure that any food particles and bacteria are removed from the crevices of your teeth before you go to bed. Why is this important? When we are asleep, it isn’t just our movements that shut down for the night, so too do many body systems.
During the day, our mouth produces saliva that enables us to talk, eat and that continuously cleanses the inside of our mouth of bacteria and food/drink residue. However, when we go to sleep our body tells our saliva glands to decrease production so that we don’t need to swallow as often and can rest. This causes our mouth to dry out and is one of the reasons that many of us reach for a glass of water as soon as we wake up.
Unfortunately, the bacteria present in our mouths jumps into action when there is less saliva to wash them away. This is what causes us to have bad breath in the mornings. If there are food particles left in your mouth, the bacteria will feed on them and produce acids which can damage our teeth. As such, it is prudent to thoroughly brush and floss our teeth before we go to bed, to ensure that all possible traces of bacteria and food/drink debris are removed.
If you would like more information on the importance of flossing, or if you have further questions about anything mentioned in this blog, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly, knowledgeable staff who will be delighted to have the opportunity to assist you.