Why Flossing Your Teeth is Extremely Important
Most people understand the importance of brushing their teeth on a daily basis. For some reason, though, many let things slide in the flossing department. One issue is that if you do not floss regularly, your gums may bleed whenever you do. This can make you reluctant to floss at all. Also, it is another thing to take care of, and there are only so many hours in a day. As any Houston dentist will attest, however, flossing is just as important as brushing. In some ways, it may be even more important. No effective oral hygiene regimen is complete without it, but why’s it so important?
What is the Point of Flossing?
If you already brush at least once–and ideally twice–a day, shouldn’t that be enough to keep cavities and other issues at bay? The short answer is no. You see, toothbrushes can’t fit into inter-proximal regions, or the spaces between your teeth. Sure, toothpaste and mouthwash may get between your teeth, but they create no friction. Without this friction, plaque starts building up. If you keep holding off on flossing, bacterial plaque biofilm will develop in those tiny spaces and up above the gum line. There’s no way around it: Without flossing, you cannot achieve or maintain optimal oral hygiene.
Top Reasons to Floss Daily
As big of a hassle as flossing may seem, it can help prevent a number of serious issues. With daily flossing, you can:
- Avoid Cavities – Brushing alone will not keep cavities at bay. Flossing between the teeth removes plaque from those hard-to-reach spaces. It also clears away food debris. If plaque, food and other debris is not cleared away with flossing, cavities can and will develop. If you have ever had a cavity filled between your teeth, you know it is no picnic. Avoid this unhappy fate by running floss between your teeth at least one time per day.
- Avoid Gum Disease – In case you did not know, dental plaque is made up of all kinds of microorganisms, including viruses, protozoa and bacteria. If plaque accumulates in the regions between your teeth, your gums may become inflamed. This is called gingivitis. If buildup continues, gingivitis can progress into periodontitis, which is a disease that can damage the alveolar bone– the bone holds teeth in your jaw. Ultimately, then, failing to floss can cause you to lose teeth.
- Prevent Tartar Buildup – Over time, plaque turns into tartar, which is calcified plaque. This substance is very difficult to remove. It causes gum disease and cavities, and once it is there, it can only be effectively removed with special dental tools wielded by a skilled hygienist. With regular flossing, you can keep tartar from developing in the first place.
- Prevent Bad Breath – Bad breath, or halitosis, is another potential consequence of not flossing. Even if you brush diligently, plaque that is hidden between the teeth and up into the gum line can start emitting a foul odor. Also, plaque buildup leads to gum disease and tooth decay, which both cause halitosis as well.
- Reduce the Risk of Diabetes Complications and Heart Disease – Not flossing does not just pose serious risks for your oral and dental health; it can negatively impact your overall health too. Since the mouth is where many harmful bacteria get into the body, bacteria can make its way to the heart tissue and can cause infective endocarditis, an inflammation of the heart caused by bacteria. If you have diabetes, failing to floss can cause complications. In diabetic people, organs often heal more slowly. This means tissue is more susceptible to becoming inflamed. Therefore, people with diabetes are more vulnerable to gum disease and should be especially diligent about flossing.
By flossing daily and regularly visiting a Houston family dentist for cleanings, you can keep your mouth in tip-top shape. Also, set your kids on the right path by encouraging good flossing habits and by having their teeth cleaned regularly by a skilled Houston dentist for kids.