Anyone who has ever been to the dentist has heard that flossing is an important part of oral health.
Yet, many still avoid it at all costs. However, this is not wise. Flossing is one of the most important things we can do to maintain our dental health.
Brushing your teeth is like washing a plate—you don’t just wash one side and say the cleaning is done. When you brush your teeth, your toothbrush is only getting 2 sides, but there are 2 more sides that your brush doesn’t cover and that’s where flossing comes in to play.
You need to floss to get in those pesky cracks and crevices between your teeth. Many people make a point of brushing their teeth twice a day, but rarely make it a point to floss every day. Flossing is such an important step in dental care because it is specifically designed to clean the spaces between the teeth and that gap between the teeth and gums.
Benefits of Flossing Your Teeth
Flossing breaks up plaque on your teeth. If that plaque remains on your teeth, it can colonize and change the chemistry of your mouth, allowing pathogens to survive. When pathogens can survive, you are at risk of developing an infection or gingivitis. Gingivitis can lead to gum disease and eventually lead to tooth loss. Flossing also contributes to fresher breath.
Flossing and Brushing Are More Effective Than Brushing Alone
Even if you’re brushing your teeth twice a day, you’re still not getting the optimal cleaning if you don’t floss. A toothbrush physically removes plaque from your teeth with its bristles. The toothpaste that is used enhances the effect of the toothbrush. If your toothpaste contains fluoride, it can help reduce the number of bacteria in your mouth. The bristles can adequately clean the surface of your teeth, but not between the teeth and under the gums.
That’s where floss comes in. Floss is a tool made to remove the excess plaque in tight spaces and under the gums. According to the ADA, flossing before brushing can make brushing more effective because there is less plaque in your mouth. Thus, the fluoride in the toothpaste can reach more areas.
Flossing Helps Prevents Other Diseases
Tooth and gum disease can do much more damage than just causing discolored teeth, discomfort, and bad breath. The bacteria left behind can flourish and harm the rest of the body, leading to things like heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory illness. You may think that this is a one in a million chance, but it is so significant that the CDC began addressing oral health as a step toward reducing life-threatening diseases.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. More than 25 million Americans have diabetes. Therefore, if mouth diseases contribute to these, flossing would be the perfect tool to improve oral health and overall health. It is a small, simple, step that can have a huge impact on your long-term health. It’s is also very inexpensive. So go ahead and add it onto the cost of a toothbrush and toothpaste the next time you’re at the store.