Who has time to floss every day anyway?
Every time you visit the dentist, it’s almost guaranteed that at some point in your check up, the dentist will ask whether or not you’ve been flossing regularly. Most simply answer with a sheepish reply of “Well, not EVERY day”. Who has time to floss every day anyway?
Many people insist on brushing their teeth at least twice a day, which follows the basic recommendations set forth by the American Dental Association (ADA), but very few actually floss daily. According to the 2010 Healthy People Conference Edition, only 50% of Americans floss daily, while 18% admittedly never floss at all. This is more than a little concerning as most experts vehemently agree that daily flossing is even more important than brushing when it comes to preventing tooth loss and gum disease.
Brushing is necessary for cleaning plaque that may have built up on the top and outer surface of the tooth, but the use of a tooth brush is often ineffective for reaching the small food particles that may be lodged in between the teeth. The bristles on a tooth brush simply aren’t adequate enough to clean such compact areas.
Although antimicrobial mouthwash can kill a vast majority of the harmful germs and bacteria that cause gum disease and other issues within the mouth, this mouthwash still isn’t sufficient enough to remove the stubborn tartar build up and food particles that become lodged within these tight spaces. This is why flossing is absolutely essential.
These food particles that become wedged between the teeth cause the formulation of acids that attack the enamel on the tooth. Once hardened, these acids form a colorless, sticky film of bacteria on the surface of the tooth which we commonly refer to as plaque. If left untreated, the plaque clinging to the outer surface of the tooth will begin to eat away at the enamel, causing tooth decay. By flossing regularly, the food particles never have the opportunity to form into plaque to begin with, and the enamel remains completely intact, saving you a lot of potential pain and suffering.
Incredibly, growing bodies of evidence even suggest that keeping the gums healthy may actually lower the risk of heart disease, which further exemplifies why flossing is such a necessity. Researchers from Columbia University actually demonstrated a significant link between heart health and the treatment of the gums.
In a study conducted over the course of 3 years, which included 420 adult subjects, researchers found that a reduction in the amount of bacteria that is commonly linked to periodontal disease, strongly correlated to the thickness of the inner arterial wall. Those with less bacteria had thinner arterial walls while those that neglected their dental hygiene had thicker arterial walls, thus were at a much higher risk for heart disease.
You never know, that little piece of string may not only save you from serious periodontal diseases, but also prevent other bodily ailments from ever occurring. Flossing only takes a few minutes of your time, but may save you a significant amount of time, money, and heartache in the long run.
At our Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale practices, flossing is promoted to each and every patient. It is the starting point to a healthy mouth, and we love healthy mouths.