If your dentist asks you “Have you been flossing regularly?” nearly every time you visit for a checkup, it’s not because they’re trying to annoy or chastise you. It’s because they’re looking out for you! There are a lot of reasons it’s important to floss at least once a day.
Unlike brushing, which cleans the outer surface and tops of the teeth, flossing is important because it cleans the tight spaces between the teeth and the space between the base of the teeth and gums. Even the most sophisticated toothbrush can’t reach those areas. Moreover, even though antimicrobial/antiseptic mouthwash can kill the bacteria that form plaque, it cannot remove tartar and pieces of food that can get stuck or lodged in the gaps of your teeth.
A survey done in 2008 discovered that 49% of Americans floss daily, but 10% never floss at all. Many dentists commented on the findings, saying that it was unfortunate that the remainder of people didn’t do it, because flossing is more important than brushing when it comes to preventing gum disease and tooth loss.
One of the #1 excuses dentists hear for not flossing is that “food doesn’t get stuck between my teeth.” But flossing isn’t really about removing stuck particles; it’s about removing the plague, tartar and other, smaller bits of food in the spaces between your teeth. Plague causes tooth decay, inflamed gums (gingivitis), periodontal disease, and tooth loss. Flossing is the only effective way to remove it.
But it doesn’t stop there—flossing is also extremely important because:
· To prevent or stop halitosis – or, constant bad breath. Not flossing brings about tooth decay, and that brings about halitosis. Gum disease and tooth decay are both caused by plaque, which can also be a source of bad-smelling breath.
· To reduce the risk of heart disease – The mouth is an entryway for harmful bacteria that can reach cardiac tissue. If you suffer from heart disease, flossing and brushing twice daily can help reduce the complications.
· To avoid complications of diabetes – Evidence says that diabetes can be aggravated when someone has gum disease. Tissue inflammation at the gum level can develop quicker, complicating diabetes. Flossing regularly and removing plaque and tartar helps to reduce and avoid these complications.