Flossing: The Important Step in Your Dental Hygiene Regimen That You’re Still Skipping

Flossing: The Important Step in Your Dental Hygiene Regimen That You’re Still Skipping

Brushing and flossing. They go together like peanut butter and jelly, right? Take a look at any public service announcement or brochure or Wikipedia page focusing on oral health, and you’ll find “brushing and flossing” emphasized as the two most important steps in a proper daily dental hygiene routine.

And yet, a survey conducted on behalf of the American Academy of Periodontology found that 18% of Americans don’t floss at all. The survey also found that 27% lie to their dentist about their flossing habits, and 36% said they’d rather do an unpleasant task, such as sitting in gridlock traffic or cleaning the toilet, than flossing every day.

“There’s clearly more work to be done when it comes to educating Americans about the importance of oral hygiene,” says AAP President Joan Otomo-Corgel, DDS, MPH.

We have to agree with her.  Bacteria grows everywhere in the mouth, including between the teeth and below the gum line – places where a toothbrush cannot go. Flossing is an extremely important step in maintaining oral health.

At Soft Touch Dental in San Diego, we believe that the more you focus on why you don’t want to floss, the less likely you are to do it.  So, if you’re having trouble motivating yourself to floss at least once a day, keep in mind the following five benefits of this simple, important task:

Flossing can prevent bad breath.

Food particles and bacteria stuck between your teeth and below your gum can cause the stink of bad breath. Mouthwash might mask the smell for a while, but flossing helps get rid of the stinky particles. Remember that survey we mentioned above? 60% of those surveyed say their partner’s oral hygiene affects their intimacy.

Flossing prevents tartar build-up.

When left alone, plaque hardens into tartar.  To remove tartar, your dentist has to scrape it off.  That’s not fun.  Flossing removes the plaque and food particles from between your teeth.

Flossing protects your gums.

Tartar build-up below the gum line leads to gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease. If it spreads even deeper below the gum line, it leads to periodontitis, a gum disease that can cause severe inflammation and tooth loss. Flossing can remove the plaque and small particles of food from below the gum line.

Flossing can save you money.

Researchers with the Children’s Dental Health Project reported that in populations that rely on the emergency room care instead of doctor’s visits, the cost for dental emergency visits can be as much as 10 times the cost of regular dental check-ups over a given period of time. The reason? Education by the dentist on the importance of daily brushing and flossing = fewer expensive emergencies.

Flossing helps prevent other diseases.

The bacteria from an unhealthy mouth causes more than just bad breath and inflamed gums. It can lead to heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory illness. Flossing helps keep the mouth clean and healthy.

Although 18% of American’s avoid flossing altogether, it’s a very simple task that doesn’t take long. Just think: five minutes a day spent flossing can decrease the time your dentist spends scraping tartar off your teeth. Remember that the next time you’re tempted to skip it.

If you have questions about flossing or any other matter regarding your dental health, contact us at Soft Touch Dental in San Diego. We are devoted to the preservation of beautiful smiles.