Is flossing something you really do every day, or is it a task that you fervently try to catch up on the night before your dental appointment? If you are like 70% of the American population, you don’t follow through on this important oral hygiene responsibility on a daily basis.
While many patients understand the importance of brushing, a small percentage recognize the value of flossing. If you are not an avid flosser, it is time to consider the serious consequences you are setting yourself up for in terms of your oral health and overall health. (By the way, your dentist or hygienist can almost always tell if you’ve only been flossing right before your dental exam!)
Why Flossing Matters
Brushing is undoubtedly critical to your oral health. However, there is simply no way for your toothbrush to reach all surfaces of your teeth. In fact, nearly 35% of your tooth surface is missed when you brush but neglect to floss. When that sticky film of plaque builds up in the tight spaces between your teeth and just below the gum line, flossing is often the only way to remove it.
The Dental Health Risks of Not Using Floss
Unfortunately, there is a host of oral health issues that can develop when plaque is allowed to linger in the mouth, ranging from bad breath and cavities to periodontal disease and more. Gum disease is among the most common and serious setbacks in those who avoid flossing.
Gum disease develops when plaque is not removed and hardens below the gum line. This irritates these soft tissues that support your teeth, causing the gums to appear red, puffy and even bleed. This is the first stage of gum disease called gingivitis. If this condition is allowed to progress, the gums can become so infected that they start to pull away from the tooth roots and can potentially cause the teeth to lose their stability. Gum disease is not only the leading cause of tooth loss, but the infection can enter the bloodstream and also impact your overall health. Diabetes, stroke, heart attack and premature birth have all been associated with advanced, untreated gum disease.
Make Flossing a Priority
From helping you keep fresh breath to protecting the stability of your teeth, flossing is a simple task with major rewards. If you are a patient who dreads the dentist because you hate to have your teeth scraped or because your gums bleed easily, start flossing! Daily flossing can significantly improve your experience at your routine dental visits. At the office of Dr. Mitzi Morris, we love helping patients reap the benefits of dental floss!