Let’s be real here for a moment…
How many of you out there actually floss your teeth daily?
…and how many more of you forgo the flossing until just before you visit your dentist for a check-up?
Come on, be honest.
If you’re like most Americans, then your answer probably lies closer to the second statement.
According to a 2013 survey by the ADA (American Dental Association), only 50.5% of Americans follow through with flossing once a day…and a whopping 18.5% do not floss at all.
So what’s the big deal, you may ask? Why is flossing teeth so important?
Let us take you through the basics!
For starters, floss is what’s called an interdental cleaner, which means it’s a tool designed specifically to clean the tight spaces and gaps in between teeth…this is a function that is not capable with a toothbrush, due its soft bristles and limited reach.
Flossing teeth is hands down the most effective means of cleaning the plaque – a sticky, bacteria-laden film – and bits of food in between your teeth, and therefore is an essential part of oral hygiene that often goes overlooked.
If left unchecked, plaque in between your teeth will accrue and harden over time in the form of tartar, which can then only be removed by a professional scraper.
(And if you’re like most people, the word scraper just made you cringe inside.)
Tartar buildup in turn leads to swollen, bleeding gums which is the first sign of gum disease, popularly known as gingivitis.
From there, it’s all downhill.
Further neglect will allow the tartar and plaque (which again, are completely bacteria-laden) to spread below the gum line into what we in the professional field call periodontitis – or severe gum disease.
At this point, chronic inflammation of the gums and tooth and bone loss come into play.
Not fun. For you, or us.
Good news though!
All it takes to prevent this tragic series of oral mishaps is a simple 2-3 minutes of flossing daily. The ADA recommends you floss prior to brushing in order to loosen the most plaque in between your teeth to allow maximum efficiency of your toothbrush and toothpaste.
Also a little swing of anti-microbial mouthwash doesn’t hurt either!
Remember that these small steps to daily oral care can prevent massive health issues down the road, as well as help you save money on completely preventable dental costs!