You just left the dentist’s office, and your dentist asked you the age-old question: How often do you floss? Most people answering truthfully will say they certainly don’t floss enough. But how much is enough? And what are the benefits? Well, we have the answers to all of your flossing questions, and the secrets to keeping your teeth healthy and clean.
How Often Should I Floss?
Once a day. Yes, we know. It sounds like a lot. But make it a part of your routine, and it’ll make a drastic difference in your dental hygiene. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that you floss once each day, while also recommending that you brush your teeth twice a day for 2 minutes with fluoride toothpaste.
Why is Flossing Important?
Brushing your teeth twice a day is great. But it’s not quite enough. Flossing can accomplish a few things that brushing alone could never do, such as:
Flossing reaches parts of your mouth that your toothbrush cannot
Some food particles get caught between your teeth and you may not even realize it. The only way to free these lodged particles is to floss. While these particles are lodged in between your teeth, they are eating away at your gums and breaking down the enamel on your teeth. Therefore, the longer they are lodged, the more likely tooth decay could set in and cause cavities.
Flossing prevents gum disease
As stated earlier, flossing scrapes plaque off of the surface of your teeth. If you skip flossing, the plaque and tartar will build up and may potentially lead to periodontal/gum disease.
Flossing reduces plaque buildup that can lead to other serious diseases
Inflammation from plaque buildup in your mouth can be an underlying problem caused by heart disease or rheumatoid arthritis. The more plaque buildup in your mouth, the more susceptible you are to these life-threatening diseases.
Flossing reduces cavities
Refusing to floss can lead to tooth decay. As plaque builds up over time, it will slowly start to create acid. This acid eats away the tooth enamel, resulting in a cavity that will need to be filled to prevent even further damage.
Flossing helps ensure you are NOT missing 40% of your mouth when you brush!
Toothbrushing only cleans 60% of your mouth and it doesn’t reach the spaces between your teeth at all. Teeth have 5 surfaces, and without flossing, you leave 2 of the surfaces on every tooth unclean.
What Happens If I Don’t Floss?
Besides the obvious issue of food stuck in between your teeth, a lack of flossing can have some startling effects on your overall health. These are a few of the potential problems that could arise should you continue to neglect flossing on a daily basis:
Healthy gum tissue does not bleed. If your gums bleed when you brush, floss, or eat, then there is a strong chance that you may have gingivitis or periodontitis. Both of these conditions are types of gum disease.
Unlike plaque, which can be tamed by brushing and flossing, tartar is a very hard substance that must be removed by your dentist. Tartar is plaque that has been left untreated and has solidified. We like seeing you, but not for tartar removal.
An intimidating word for the possible culprit for bad breath that you can’t seem to get rid of. (Leftover food particles from last week are bound to not smell so great, trust us.)
Premature Tooth Loss
Gum disease causes the gums to pull away from the teeth, leaving pockets of space for bacteria to grow and weaken the tooth structure. This can be dangerous, because eventually gum disease will lead to premature tooth loss, among other issues.
Potential Problems During Pregnancy
Controlling the bacteria in your body is especially important during pregnancy. Bacteria in the mouth can be absorbed into the bloodstream of both the mother and unborn child, resulting in low birth weight.
Want to maintain a white smile? Then don’t skip the floss. Removing the buildup between the teeth helps your smile appear whiter and cleaner, which sounds pretty great to us.
Bacteria that remain undisturbed will eventually lead to tooth decay (cavities). Cavities require fillings, and they disrupt the original tooth structure. Once a tooth has a filling, it weakens over time, leading to more necessary dental work down the road.
When Should I Floss?
Whenever! It’s a personal preference when in your day you choose to floss. Some people like to start their day with a good floss, while others opt for before bed to go to sleep with a clean mouth. It’s up to you, as long as you make the time for it!
Not sure what great flossing should look like? Check out our post: The Proper Technique for Flossing.
Flossing is an important part of everyday dental hygiene, but another important aspect of maintaining healthy teeth is going to regular dental checkups. Get your next checkup on the calendar by scheduling an appointment with Mogren Dental. We’re here to help you achieve the healthiest teeth possible.