How many times have you gone to the dentist and lied about how much you floss? It’s OK; you’re not alone! Many patients don’t really enjoy flossing. We have a theory that in part, it’s because flossing doesn’t have any noticeable direct benefit—unlike exercise, eating healthy, or even brushing your teeth. However, there are plenty of benefits to be had from regular flossing; the first is that patients who floss regularly have very few dental issues. Keep reading to find out more about flossing and why it’s so important to your oral health.
The Benefits of Flossing Regularly
- Teeth & Gum Health
Brushing your teeth is great for preventing tooth decay because it scrubs away food, plaque, and bacteria sitting on your teeth’s enamel. However, toothbrushes can only do so much; they can’t reach the tight spaces between your teeth and along the gum line—but floss can! Flossing daily helps your teeth and gums stay healthy and reduces your risk of developing cavities and gum disease.
- Fresher Breath
Brushing your teeth with minty-fresh toothpaste will help your breath—but only for so long if you have food and tarter between your teeth. Food trapped between your teeth can start to decay and cause a foul odor, but tartar is one of the main culprits of halitosis (aka chronic bad breath). Flossing removes food particles and plaque before it can become odor-causing tarter.
- Flossing Can Help Prevent Heart Disease
Studies have shown that patients with gum disease are almost twice as likely to have heart disease as those without gum disease. Why? When you have gingivitis or forms of gum disease, it allows bacteria to enter the bloodstream, where it can make its way to the heart. If you floss regularly, it helps protect your teeth, gums, AND your heart! What’s not to love?
- A Brighter, More Confident Smile
Plaque and tartar have a yellowy appearance, which can affect the overall appearance of your smile. Flossing regularly will help remove plaque, prevent tartar buildup, and remove food trapped between your teeth for a brighter, whiter smile you can flash with confidence.
What Happens if You Don’t Floss?
If you don’t floss, it allows plaque and bacteria to accumulate in your mouth. Bacteria can lead to cavities and tooth decay over time, but gingivitis (gum inflammation) can develop much more quickly.
If gingivitis gets worse, it can develop into periodontal disease, which causes bone loss and eventually tooth loss. Plaque that’s allowed to sit for too long becomes calcified and turns into tartar, which makes it more difficult for you to brush and floss thoroughly; even worse, tartar that sits above the gum line has bacteria in it that can irritate and damage your gums.
The bottom line is no matter how often you brush or how long you brush, there are areas around your teeth and gums that a toothbrush just can’t reach. Flossing helps you reach every nook and cranny, dislodging food, plaque, and bacteria that you wouldn’t be able to remove otherwise.
For the cleanest, healthiest smile, you should aim for flossing at least once a day. If your gums bleed while flossing, don’t worry! This is just a sign that you need to floss more frequently. The more you floss, the less your gums will bleed. We know it doesn’t feel like the most glamorous activity, but trust us—your teeth and gums will thank you!
If you have questions about your oral health or proper flossing technique, contact an Enamel Dentistry near you. Our team is always happy to help you find the best ways to care for your smile!