When your dental hygienist or dentists casually asks, “you are flossing daily aren’t you?” if you are like most Americans, you cringe inside. We all know we are supposed to be flossing. However, according to some recently released data, 50.5% of Americans floss daily and 18.5% never floss.
Five Reasons You Should Floss, Flossing:
1. Cleans Places Your Toothbrush Can’t
In between your teeth, the bacteria that builds up can cause more damage than elsewhere on your teeth. This is because some of the bacteria that is not between your teeth is removed by your tongue, other foods and your saliva. But only by flossing can you remove the food, bacteria and plaque that builds up between teeth. If you don’t floss away the plaque that hides in between your teeth, it will eat away at your enamel, causing cavities and gum disease.
2. Stops Your Gums from Bleeding
Many people don’t floss because their gums bleed. But not flossing because of bleeding is the opposite of what you should be doing. With daily brushing and flossing, bleeding gums typically go away in a few weeks. If they don’t, you need to see your dentist as they can check if you’re flossing correctly and determine if you might have gum disease.
3. Helps Prevent Gum Disease
If you do have gun disease, you are not alone. One out of every two American adults aged 30 and over has periodontal disease, according to recent findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The study estimates that 47.2 percent, or 64.7 million American adults, have mild, moderate or severe periodontitis, the more advanced form of periodontal disease. In adults 65 and older, prevalence rates increase to 70.1 percent.
Why should you care about gum disease? If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss.
4. Might Save Your Life
There is a lot of recent research that is pointing to a connection between gum disease and heart disease, diabetes and even dementia.People with gum disease are almost twice as likely to have heart disease. According to the American Academy of Periodontology. Researchers don’t know exactly how heart disease and periodontal disease are connected, although it is known that periodontal disease, heart disease, and arthritis are all partially caused by the body’s own inflammatory response. By flossing, you might be preventing much more serious health problems down the road.
5. Can Quickly Improve Your Dental Health
If you haven’t been flossing, you probably have some gum issues, and so flossing will cause some unpleasant bleeding at first. But if you stick with it, quite quickly, it will make a big difference in your mouth health. Ideally make a habit of flossing before bedtime for 3 minutes or more. But even 60 seconds of flossing will show benefits. The trick is to make flossing a habit, just like bathing, exercise and other daily routines.
The American Dental Hygienists’ Association explains the key elements of proper flossing technique in four simple steps:
- Wind: Wind 18 inches of floss around middle fingers of each hand. Pinch floss between thumbs and index fingers, leaving a one- to two-inch length in between. Use thumbs to direct floss between upper teeth.
- Guide: Keep a one- to two-inch length of floss taut between fingers. Use index fingers to guide floss between contacts of the lower teeth.
- Glide: Gently guide floss between the teeth by using a zig-zag motion. DO NOT SNAP FLOSS BETWEEN YOUR TEETH. Contour floss around the side of the tooth.
- Slide: Slide floss up and down against the tooth surface and under the gum line. Floss each tooth thoroughly with a clean section of floss.