Most dentists suggest flossing at least once daily. However, many people don’t follow this recommendation, possibly because they don’t understand why it’s so important.
Did you ever wonder why your oral health provider asks about this habit at every checkup? To help you understand, we’ve put together a list of eight reasons to floss your teeth daily.
Reduces Plaque to Avoid Tartar
The human mouth can contain over 700 species of bacteria. Most are harmless or even help improve oral health. However, a few of them can cause problems if not adequately controlled.
Harmful bacteria can mix with sugars and starches from the food you eat. They form a pasty substance called plaque that sticks to your teeth. If you don’t remove it regularly, it can harden into tartar, requiring scraping by a dental professional.
Flossing helps keep plaque from building up in your mouth, especially in the spaces between your teeth where your brush can’t reach. Using dental floss regularly helps prevent tartar from forming on the 35% of your tooth surfaces that can’t be cleaned by brushing alone.
Helps Avoid Cavities
Plaque is also one of the leading causes of cavities. Bacteria found in plaque feed on sugars from the foods you eat. They then produce acid and release it on the surface of your teeth.
Excess acid can damage your enamel, causing a cavity to form. Regular brushing and flossing remove the plaque that contains these bacteria. As a result, your tooth surface is safe from corrosive acid.
Prevents Gum Disease
Flossing is also critical for gum health, as it helps dislodge food particles stuck between the teeth and gums. Without regular flossing, plaque can build up in this area and harden into tartar.
Tartar accumulation around the gum line can cause red, swollen gums, characteristic of gingivitis, the first stage of periodontal disease.
If your gums bleed when you floss, it’s a good indicator that you’re not flossing enough. If the problem continues, see your dentist as soon as possible to learn how to improve your oral health. Gingivitis can usually be reversed with good cleaning habits.
Allows You to Keep Your Teeth Longer
If left untreated, gingivitis can worsen and lead to periodontitis. This condition causes pain and damage to the gums and surrounding tissue. It can result in severe inflammation and the risk of tooth and bone loss.
Leads to Fresher Breath
Lack of adequate oral hygiene can cause bad breath due to decaying food particles stuck between the teeth. Flossing is the best way to remove this nasty-smelling debris and improve your confidence.
Makes Your Smile Brighter
Accumulated plaque and food particles can leave your teeth looking dull and yellowed. Regular flossing keeps them bright and shiny, improving your appearance.
Keeps Your Whole Body Healthier
Taking care of your mouth may improve your overall health. One study showed that good oral hygiene correlated with decreased risk of heart problems. Some scientists believe this is because bacteria that cause swollen gums can enter the bloodstream and contribute to inflammation in the circulatory system, including the heart.
Unhealthy oral bacteria have also been linked to respiratory issues. Your mouth is the entry point to your digestive and respiratory systems, making it possible for oral bacteria to contaminate other parts of your body. Although there’s no conclusive research indicating causation, it’s clear that daily flossing could potentially have a significant impact on your overall health.
Healthcare costs are rising, and insurance plans don’t always cover dental care. As a result, it’s more critical than ever to perform preventive dental maintenance.
A 2005 study followed children who had their first dentist visit during their first year of life and compared them to others who only saw a dentist after age one. By age five, those who saw a professional earlier had paid 40% less in overall dental care costs than the group who had their first checkup after age one.
Prevention is usually cheaper than emergency treatment, which can cost up to 10 times as much as a checkup. Flossing is an essential part of preventive dental care. It allows you to examine your mouth, gums, teeth, and tongue for any signs of problems needing professional attention.
There are many excellent reasons to floss your teeth daily. This habit reduces plaque and tartar and helps avoid cavities. It prevents gum disease and tooth loss.
You’ll find your breath is fresher and your smile brighter when you floss each day. Your overall health could improve, too, protecting you from serious illness.
Last but not least, you’ll enjoy financial savings by avoiding emergency dental treatment. Flossing each day can significantly improve your quality of life.