How often do you floss? If you’re in the 32 percent of Americans who say they never floss, you could be in trouble, and not just with your dentist in Medford. Flossing is important because it prevents serious health problems from developing down the road. Let’s look at how critical flossing really is, and what exactly can happen if you avoid flossing.
Is Flossing Really That Important?
A few years ago, the Associated Press published a study that claimed that flossing provides no benefits. However, your dentist will tell you that is simply untrue. Flossing can help reduce gingivitis, a condition characterized by inflammation of the gums. This is caused by a bacterial infection, and the main way to prevent it is by flossing to remove the bacteria from between the teeth and stopping it before it builds up.
What Happens in Your Mouth If You Don’t Floss?
There are two main oral issues you are at risk for if you don’t floss: cavities between the teeth, and gingivitis. By removing bacteria from between the teeth, you can stop them before they create painful cavities. You can also prevent them from accumulating and causing gingivitis. When left untreated, gingivitis can turn into gum disease, a health issue that can have serious repercussions in the rest of your body.
How Does Not Flossing Affect the Rest of Your Body?
When gum disease progresses, it creates pockets in between your teeth and gums. The increased number of bacteria in your mouth can enter your bloodstream through these pockets and travel to different parts of your body, such as your heart, your lungs, or even your brain. Gum disease has been linked to several different health conditions, including:
- Heart disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Pregnancy complications such as low birth weight and premature birth
How Often Should I Floss?
Make sure to get in the habit of flossing at least once a day. Many people choose to floss before bed to clear out bits of food that have built up between their teeth during the day. Choose a waxed floss, as it won’t shred between the teeth. In addition, buy those little containers of floss in bulk. That way you can keep one wherever you may need it: in your purse, in the bathroom, on your nightstand, or in your desk drawer at work. If the urge to clean between your teeth strikes you, you can just pull out your floss at any time.
Although it might not seem like it, flossing is very important. Try and get in the habit of flossing whenever you brush your teeth. Your mouth will thank you in the future!
About the Author
Dr. Anthony Giamberardino obtained his Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in 1985. In 1993, he opened his own private practice in Medford, MA, where he delivers quality care in adult restorative, cosmetic, and preventive dentistry. To learn more about why he believes flossing is crucial, click here or call (781)-396-3800.