As you sit down in the dentist’s chair, you know the question is coming: “Have you been flossing your teeth regularly?”
However, it’s not just something your dentist or hygienist asks to make you feel guilty.
Flossing Your Teeth is Extremely Important to Maintaining Good Dental Health
Flossing keeps your breath fresher! Dental plaque is one of the causes of halitosis (bad breath), and if it’s left between your teeth, it will generate a bad smell in your mouth. This odor comes from the metabolism of the bacteria contained in plaque. Bad breath can also be caused by gum disease and tooth decay, which are also primarily caused by plaque.
Regular flossing also prevents tooth decay. Dental plaque can cause cavities if it’s left between teeth. When mixed with sugar, the bacteria that live in plaque can begin the process of tooth decay. Brushing alone does not clean in between teeth – only dental floss can remove plaque in those areas.
Flossing also prevents gum disease. Gingivitis (inflammation of gums) is the first stage of gum disease (periodontal disease). It is caused by an accumulation of plaque around gums and between teeth. Plaque also contains bacteria that are harmful for the gums. Flossing is therefore important to remove all plaque accumulated after a meal.
An increasing body of evidence shows that not only does flossing keep your smile and your breath fresh, but it also can help prevent much more serious diseases. Research has shown that periodontal disease can lead to life-threatening diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory illness. To decrease your chances of developing one of these serious diseases, maintain good dental health by flossing – it’s good for your whole body!
According to WebMD, a 2008 survey found that only 49% of Americans floss daily, and 10% never floss. Make it your goal to be one of those regular flossers.
Dental health professionals recommend flossing your teeth at least twice a day – do it for your health!