Most people are rigorous about brushing their teeth at least twice a day; yet flossing is often ignored. Regardless, this much neglected habit is essential to maintaining the health of your teeth. By flossing just once a day, you can preserve your smile and keep your teeth clean.
Flossing Is the Only Way to Thoroughly Clean Teeth
Flossing is important because it is the only way to clean between your teeth. A toothbrush only removes bacteria from the front, top and back of the teeth, which means the sides of the teeth are completely neglected. According to Professor Wheeler of the New York University School of Dentistry, flossing can actually remove 40% of the bacteria that grows along your teeth. Without the valuable cleanliness provided by flossing, people end up leaving quite a lot of bacteria in their mouth. As the bacteria grows, it produces acid byproducts that wear down the teeth, ultimately causing cavities and tooth sensitivity. Flossing also removes any food lodged between the teeth, which prevents bacteria from being able to grow and further damage teeth.
Flossing Twice A Day Prevents Gum Disease
Brushing your teeth might clean the surface of your teeth, but a toothbrush typically cannot fit into all the tiny crevices between teeth. It’s in these spaces where bacteria tends to flourish. Without flossing, these bacteria continue to grow and are particularly dangerous because they are right by the gumline. The gums can get inflamed by the accumulated bacteria, which is when gum disease can set in. At first, gum disease just presents itself as gingivitis, causing bleeding, soreness, bad breath and gum recession. If not treated, gingivitis can develop into periodontitis. In this stage of gum disease, the gums are further damaged and the bones of the jaw can also be harmed. This results in tooth loss and lessened jaw structure. In a study by the Journal of Periodontology, identical twins were observed and recorded; one twin just brushed their teeth twice daily, while the other twin both brushed and flossed their teeth twice a day. In just two weeks, the group of study subjects who flossed improved their gums by over 42 percent. This massive increase in gum health over such a short period of time shows just how effective flossing is.
Flossing Prevents Other Serious Diseases
There is growing evidence to suggest that bad oral hygiene can hurt more than just your mouth. When bacteria are allowed to flourish within the mouth, they can travel to other places in the body, causing a variety of health issues. A recent study from the researchers at the National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center found that high bacteria levels in saliva was linked to a higher rate of hemorrhagic strokes. The researchers theorize that the bacteria travels from the mouth into the bloodstream, where it tends to stick to weakened blood vessels within the brain, causing them to burst.
Flossing to prevent gum disease can also protect against heart disease. Many studies have shown that people with gum disease have higher levels of arterial buildup and thickened blood vessels, which can lead to heart disease. When the health of the gums increases due to flossing, the plaque that blocks and narrows blood vessels decreases, lessening the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Alternative Flossing Methods
Fortunately, there are many ways to enjoy the benefits of flossing without having to go through the hassle of using traditional dental floss. A waterpik oral irrigator is just as efficient at cleaning along the gumline, and toothpicks may also be used to remove food debris between the teeth. Another great option is the Sonicare Airfloss, an electric tool that allows targeted cleaning between the teeth. With these choices, you can still clean your teeth properly, even if you do not like using dental floss.
Improve Your Smile at Daxon Dentistry
To thoroughly clean your teeth and gums, you should floss at least once a day. Flossing twice a day can greatly reduce your risk of gum disease, stroke and heart disease. Flossing and brushing help prevent the bad oral hygiene that can lead to all sorts of issues with your teeth and gums. If you did not regularly floss in the past, you may benefit from the restorative dental procedures from Dr. Daxon. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.
For anyone that wants a bit more information on flossing, check out our informative infographic!