The Benefits of Flossing
Most of us are used to brushing our teeth, hopefully, twice a day. That’s a great habit to have! But, when it comes to flossing, some of us cringe just thinking about it. It’s true, flossing gets a bad rap, but it’s not clear why, since the practice of cleaning in-between our teeth provides amazing benefits with very little time invested.
This simple, yet powerful, habit likely has a better chance of becoming part of our daily lives if we will take time to recognize all that flossing has to offer. If you floss your teeth every day, you are pretty much guaranteed:
- Stronger teeth with less tooth decay
- A brighter smile
- Fewer dental bills
- Healthier gums
- Fresher breath
- Overall improved health
Not bad for something that only takes a couple of minutes per day!
Let’s take a brief look at each of these benefits:
- Stronger Teeth
If food particles are allowed to stay in places that cannot be reached by a toothbrush, they are given a free pass to cause havoc, rot, odor, and decay. It is a gruesome concept that means big trouble for your teeth.
Take a moment to visualize a person with healthy teeth and gums, sporting a bright smile. Awesome! Now imagine a person who is embarrassed to smile because they are self-conscious about their unhealthy teeth and puffy red gums. So sad … but, there is hope!
Brushing the front and back of your teeth is terrific; but, getting in between each tooth with floss is finishing the job. Think of it as cleaning your entire tooth … north and south, as well as east and west. Flossing is a proactive way to guard your pearly whites from decay, providing years of chewing power and a glowing smile.
- Healthier Gums
Food doesn’t just like to cause havoc between teeth, but it also finds its way into our gums. This is evidenced by red, puffy, and painful gums. Some people avoid flossing because it makes their gums bleed, but that is exactly why they should floss! The more regularly we floss, the healthier our gums will be. It may hurt and bleed for a couple of days, but once you do it more, you’ll be in and out—flossing with ease.
Tip: Don’t just go up … down … and out, vertically, with your floss. You need to pull the floss gently down into where the gum meets the tooth and up over top edge of the tooth, lightly grazing the gum tissue. This habit will protect you from gum disease and keep your mouth healthy and happy.
- Saves You Money
If you take excellent care of your teeth and gums at home, the benefits rack up for your pocketbook as well. Besides your twice-a-year professional cleanings, you shouldn’t have to fear more costly treatments and procedures. We all would much rather spend our hard-earned cash on that vacation we’ve been dreaming about, instead of a root canal, dentures, or restorative measures for our teeth and gums.
- More Attractive Appearance
We’ve all probably talked with someone face to face who isn’t a good flosser. At first, we may get a feeling that something isn’t quite right; that their smile is lackluster. Then we may spot bits of food and obvious plaque. Icky! May that not be said of us. The simple habit of regular flossing clears away plaque, which can lead to tartar (hardened plaque). Every time you floss, you are contributing to a more pleasing appearance.
Tip: If your teeth have gaps between them, no problem – you can use flossing tape that is thicker and wider; there are also floss picks and slide flossers available (even fun, colorful ones for kids).
- Fresher Breath
If you struggle with bad breath, food caught between your teeth may be the culprit. For instance, have you ever been in the middle of brushing or flossing and discovered a tiny piece of chicken? You may have stopped to wonder, “Hmm, what day did I eat chicken?!” Scary thought. That leftover food can smell bad and promote tooth decay. Also, Germs left behind leave a pungent odor that can be smelled by another person. We highly recommend flossing for fresher breath!
- Overall Improved Health
In recent years, evidence shows a connection between periodontal disease (advanced gum disease) and an increase of heart disease. Some researchers believe mouth infections increase the levels of inflammatory substances in the blood. This promotes blood clots, slowing the flow of blood to the heart. So, the next time you floss, remember you are doing your entire body a huge favor.
Here are some ideas to help make flossing a habit!
- Keep your floss right next to your toothbrush and toothpaste.
- Make it a regular part of your routine … “Every day, right after supper, I will walk to my bathroom and brush and floss,” (This may also prevent night-time snacking!)
- Set an alarm reminder on your phone.
- Place a sticky note on your mirror: “Don’t forget to floss today!”
- If needed, place your floss container at eye level in your shower shampoo rack (just don’t let used floss clog your drain).
- Change your inner narrative: “Flossing is quick and simple! I can do this!”
- The best way to help our kids establish healthy tooth care habits is to brush and floss with them.
- Floss first before you brush. It is unlikely that you will skip brushing after flossing.
Flossing teeth is a simple, inexpensive form of preventive care. And, it’s never too late to start good oral hygiene! You’ll be glad you took the time to take care of your teeth and gums when, at your next visit with us, you hear the glorious words: “Your teeth and gums look great. No cavities!”
Please feel free to contact us at Westdale Dental, anytime, and we will be happy to help you!