We’ve all heard about the importance of flossing before. Since we were kids, our parents have told us we have to do it to maintain dental hygiene.
But what exactly is important about flossing your teeth? What benefits do you receive by making it a part of your dental hygiene routine? And what could happen if you neglect to floss?
You might be surprised to learn just how much flossing can do for your health—and what happens when you skip it.
Here’s the importance of flossing, explained.
Why Flossing Is Important
Flossing is important because it prevents bacteria from building up in between your teeth and in your gums.
When bacteria builds up in your mouth, you open yourself up to a host of different complications. Left untreated, this could lead to more serious dental issues, surgeries, or other health problems.
The American Dental Association recommends you brush your teeth twice per day and floss once.
Let’s look at some more specific reasons that explain the importance of flossing.
Prevents Tartar Buildup
Tartar is a yellowish-brown substance that forms on your teeth when plaque gets hard. Due to the wet, warm environment in your mouth, plaque is constantly forming. This is why brushing to keep your teeth clean and flossing need to be an ongoing practice.
When tartar builds up, it bonds to tooth enamel. At that point, only a dentist or dental professional can remove it from your teeth. Trying to do it on your own is difficult and could lead to issues.
Tartar buildup isn’t the end of the issue. If a dental professional doesn’t clean it off, it could lead to tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease.
You might also be surprised to learn that gum disease and heart disease are linked. Those with gum disease are two to three times more likely to have heart disease. So it’s time to start eliminating that plaque!
Limits Bad Breath
Bacteria buildup in the mouth also causes bad breath, which is also called halitosis. Surprisingly, halitosis affects about 1 in 4 people.
Without being mean, we all know that bad breath sends negative messages to those we’re around. Even if you don’t realize your breath is bad, people may judge you or assume things about you simply because of it.
So whether you’re heading to a job interview, going on a date, or just trying to look and feel your best, keeping fresh breath is a good idea.
Flossing regularly helps prevent the bacteria from building up. It also helps remove old, decaying food particles from your teeth from the last several days. In either case, it’s an investment in your health and smile.
Many people don’t realize that gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease.
It’s named for the gingiva, which is the sensitive red tissue at the base of your teeth. This area becomes swollen and inflamed. Left untreated, it could form more serious problems over time.
Flossing again is a great remedy for preventing gingivitis. Most dentists say that brushing and flossing every day not only prevents this issue, it also reverses it if you already have it (in most cases).
When gingivitis isn’t dealt with, it can turn into periodontitis. This is when your teeth actually start to decay, feel loose in your mouth, and in some extreme cases even fall out.
If it gets to this point, there’s a good chance the dentist will have to pull a tooth out of your mouth.
Hopefully, that helps understate the importance of flossing your teeth. Not flossing opens you up to potentially irreversible gum disease that destroys the bones in your teeth.
It’s More Effective Than Just Brushing
Even with all this evidence, you might still be asking, “Do I need to floss my teeth?”
Hopefully, it’ll help you to realize that most health experts believe flossing daily is actually more important than brushing your teeth.
Brushing your teeth helps get tartar and plaque off the front and back surfaces of your teeth. This is helpful, of course, but not enough.
Flossing gets in between the teeth and removes the deeper particles that often destroy the gum. And because floss can be purchased with minty flavors and scents, you can also manage bad breath about as effective as brushing your teeth.
Of course, you want to do both each day. But the fact that flossing is more helpful should reinforce your own habit if you’ve been neglecting it.
How To Floss Your Teeth
Proper flossing requires about 18 to 24 inches of floss. Holding the floss tight, move it in between each tooth. Curve the floss at the base of both teeth to help get in the deeper part of the space.
Perform this between all your teeth. It can be hard to get the teeth in the back, but these ones are just as important. Since you chew with these teeth, they are often full of the most food particles and prone to things like gingivitis.
Aim to floss once daily. Some dentists recommend flossing more than that—perhaps after each meal or whenever you eat. If you haven’t been doing it for a while, add it in after you brush in the morning or evening.
The Importance of Flossing
Hopefully, the importance of flossing now makes sense for your dental hygiene. Flossing helps maintain good dental health and can even reverse seriously harmful things like gingivitis and plaque buildup.
While brushing to keep your teeth clean is important—and you should do it twice a day—most experts say flossing is actually more important.
And because floss is inexpensive, you’re actually saving yourself a lot of time and money by doing it each day. The habit will pay off over time!
Contact us to schedule your next cleaning today!