Benefits of Flossing
- Aug 19 2020
As long as I do a good job on brushing, is it really necessary to floss my teeth every day?
When you go in for your regular dental exam there is usually a certain level of uncertainty about what your dentist will find. Will there be any new cavities or gum issues? Is that old crown still holding? Or, will you be lucky this time and walk out with a clean bill of dental health?
Dental cleanings are a little different. You may not know for sure if there will be any of those little instances of discomfort if your hygienist gets a tad enthusiastic, but there are some things that you can expect every time you go in for a cleaning. First, and most importantly, you will walk out with your mouth feeling fresh, clean and wonderful. And, second, you can bet that your hygienist will ask if you have been brushing and flossing every day. That is a given.
How Important Is It to Floss?
Do you floss every day? Would you admit it if you didn’t? According to various studies, it seems that a significant number of people, around 27 percent, confess to lying to their dentists about flossing. In fact, that number doesn’t even come close to representing the number of people who don’t floss daily, which is closer to 60 percent. That only 4 in 10 floss is astonishing when you think about the consequences.
The reason it is so important to brush and floss every day is to remove as much of the bacteria that builds upon the surface of teeth and below the gum line as possible. The bacteria combines with saliva and forms a sticky coating which is called plaque. If left on teeth or under the gums, plaque will harden into tartar, and it will take professional cleaning to get rid of it.
Once plaque builds up to the point where it has caused inflammation, the problem becomes periodontal disease, which is fairly common and can lead to serious dental issues. These include tooth decay, tooth loss and receding gums.
Brushing and flossing may not remove all plague, but, if done consistently and properly, they are an important part of your defense against dental issues. One in two people develop periodontal disease. 60 percent of people do not regularly floss (some estimates say that 20 percent never floss). It’s not much of a stretch to draw a correlation between those numbers.
Why Is It Necessary to Brush and Floss?
Some people, even though they don’t mind brushing their teeth, just really don’t like to floss. Brushing is easier and leaves your mouth feeling clean and fresh. Flossing is more difficult and leaves dislodged particles of food in your mouth. While it may be tempting to only brush, it simply isn’t as effective. Each tooth has five sides or surfaces. Brushing, even with the best electric toothbrushes, only reaches the top, front and back surfaces. The sides between the teeth are not cleaned by brushing, and these are where most food particles and bacteria end up. By not using floss between your teeth you are missing the most problematic areas.
If you want to avoid cavities, gum disease and infections, do yourself a favor and brush and floss every day. Few things that take so little time and effort can make so much difference.
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