Are you an avid flosser? Many of us occasionally skip this required habit. Studies show that around 68% of individuals report flossing at least once a week while 20% say they actually never floss. Skipping the regular flossing routine can have devastating consequences on your overall dental health and lead to expensive dental work in the future. Find out more about 3 major ways flossing helps protect us from gingivitis, decay and enhances our social lives.
1. Helps Fight Cavities
Every time we eat, small remnants of food are left behind. It’s common for these tiny bits of food to build up in between our teeth without us always being aware. When we floss, it removes all these bits of food and helps reduce the amount of plaque buildup on our teeth.
If we’re not flossing frequently, more and more plaque will form and put us at risk of developing cavities. When plaque begins to cover our teeth, the enamel is slowly worn down and can result in a tiny hole which we call a cavity. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends flossing at least once per day to prevent this accumulation of plaque.
2. Prevents Gum Disease
Gum disease is a significant dental issue and can leave you with fewer teeth if not properly taken care of in a timely manner. There are four stages to gum disease and the first signs usually show up as blood in your gums after flossing or brushing. Anytime we’re flossing and notice this, we can take it as a sign we’re not flossing well enough. The bleeding in our gums creates an accumulation of plaque and tartar along the gumline.
Flossing is a great way to clear away this plaque from our teeth. With a piece of floss, we can reach areas a toothbrush can’t reach. If we avoid flossing for long bouts, more and more tartar can build up and become harder to clear away, so our gums bleed. Plaque and tartar allow certain bacteria to accrue and seep in between our gums, damaging our teeth in the process.
3. Freshens Your Breath
Have you ever wondered why your breath is stale at times? This could be due to a lack of flossing, even if you brush frequently. When you brush your teeth, you get rid of small amounts of saliva, food, and a variety of fluids from your teeth. If you don’t brush routinely, everything sticks to your teeth and results in foul-smelling breath. The same thing can happen when we start decreasing the amount of time we spend flossing. Since the food is accumulating at a slower rate, we may not notice our breath turning sour. Eventually, this will lead to covering our mouths during the conversation.
Even if flossing is the most challenging part of your oral health regimen, refusing to floss is not worth the risk. Removing the bacteria in between your teeth frequently is crucial to your dental health and will keep your breath smelling fresh.
Flossing and brushing are the best preventative measures to avoid gum disease. Remember to have twice-yearly professional dental cleanings as well. If you’re not currently flossing, it’s best to start sooner rather than later. Unexpected cavities can be pricey to treat and damaging to your health.
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