One of the first questions we ask at Dr. David Evans’ dental practice during your dental checkup is whether or not you floss regularly. There is a good reason for this – flossing is an important aspect of your dental health and hygiene, and in addition to keeping your smile strong and healthy, flossing daily can also prevent a host of oral health issues.
Everyone is familiar with the fact that flossing is an important aspect of dental hygiene. The benefits of flossing far outweigh the slight amount of extra time it will take after you’ve brushed your teeth in the morning and evening and will pay off for years to come!
Brushing and flossing help to maintain tooth health, and both highly benefit your gum health. When oral hygiene and gum health is neglected, this leads to the growth and proliferation of bacteria, plaque, and tartar. This build-up can actually impact your overall bodily health in big ways!
In addition to the development of chronic bad breath, neglecting to floss daily can also lead to a higher chance of developing dementia, heart disease, and pneumonia! Yes, really. This is a result of failing to remove all bacteria in your mouth by simply brushing with a toothbrush.
The Benefits of Flossing
- If you floss daily, this removes any chance of plaque building up in your mouth. Ever enjoyed a meal and then noticed a sticky, “build-up” feeling on your teeth? That’s plaque, and it contains lots of bacteria. If not removed in a timely fashion, it starts to harden and will need to be removed by a professional cleaning. Excess plaque build-up leads to a higher chance of cavities and bad breath.
- We’ve all tried to floss more habitually before and we’re always discouraged when our gums bleed. This is a sign of gingivitis, a common oral health issue that’s also denoted by receding, tender or swollen gums, and bad breath. Flossing more regularly actually helps minimize bleeding gums and reducing your risk of gingivitis by removing bacteria from your gum line, which means your body isn’t sending blood cells there anymore to combat infection.
- Flossing reduces your risk of gum disease and inflammation and reducing your risk of gum disease and inflammation also decreases your chances of developing other whole-body health issues. Inflammation has been tied to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and even respiratory diseases. Maintaining your gum health will help keep your chances of developing other more major health issues later.
- Cavities between two different teeth are a much higher risk when you opt to skip flossing. By including flossing daily in your health regimen, this keeps the risk of cavities and tooth decay even lower than merely brushing your teeth alone.
- This may come as a surprise, but flossing is especially important if you’re an expectant mother. Pregnant women who flossed at least once daily were shown to have a much lower risk of premature birth and lower birth weights.
- Because flossing helps prevent tooth decay and periodontal disease, it will also decrease the chances of you needing a root canal. When left to rot, food that’s stuck between your teeth starts to promote bacterial growth and these little bugs can affect your teeth below the gum line.
- Better breath. Flossing dislodges old pieces of bacteria and food and keeps your mouth smelling and feeling fresh and clean.
- Healthier teeth mean stronger teeth. Proper gum and tooth hygiene also means less wear and damage on your enamel and stronger gums.
- In addition to keeping teeth strong, remembering to floss and brush daily will also combat staining and discoloration. Bacteria left to fester in between or coating your teeth plays a large role in the development of stains. Flossing more often means your smile will stay whiter longer, which means less whitening strips or procedures!
When You Should be Flossing
Flossing is recommended daily, and should really be conducted after every meal to prevent bacteria from building up and hardening between your teeth. Ideally, you’ll floss at least once in the morning before you start your day – this removes any residual build-up that might have lingered from the night before – and once in the evening to allow as little plaque as possible to build up overnight while you sleep. If your diet tends to be a little high in sugar, it is especially important that you make sure you’re flossing at least once a day, preferably after every meal.
Tips for Flossing More Regularly
We get it. Adding flossing to your tooth brushing routine seems like a bit of an extra hassle to add to your day, but the benefits are highly worth it. With just a few extra moments every day, you can increase the health of your gums and teeth and lower your risks of developing some more major health issues down the road.
- Don’t like traditional dental floss? Many pharmacies and grocery stores sell “Plaquers”, or easy-to-use single-use dental floss picks that are easy to navigate into hard-to-reach spots in your mouth and between your teeth. These make great options for teaching the importance of flossing to your kids.
- If neither of the traditional flossing methods work for you, or you have ultra-sensitive gums, if would be worth speaking with Dr. Evans or your dentist about other dental floss alternatives at your next appointment. Electric flossers and soft floss made specifically for sensitive or tender mouth and gums make it easier and less painful to properly maintain gum health.
- If you or someone in your family has braces, flossing is still just as important for someone who doesn’t have braces. Specialized flossers are made to thread between the braces and make it an easier process.
- Healthy habits should start young, and it’s important to teach your children the benefits of oral hygiene and flossing quite young, generally between the ages of 5 and 7. If they’re as reticent about flossing as most adults tend to be, you can find ways to make the oral hygiene upkeep more fun. Try toothbrushes in fun colors, flavored toothpaste, or other little things that might grab their attention. Playing a favorite song while flossing can also make it a more enjoyable experience for the little ones.
Are You Ready to Take Flossing Seriously?
Flossing regularly is extremely important, not only for your oral health but also for your whole body! By flossing at least once daily or after meals, you can keep your teeth and gums strong and healthy, and prevent further health issues down the road.
If you’re due for a teeth-cleaning or need to schedule any other dental-related appointment, you can easily do so by visiting our appointments page. Simply enter your info or call our office to schedule an appointment.