It’s easy to find excuses not to floss. Flossing is tedious. It’s inconvenient. It’s not really necessary if you brush your teeth. Hold on a second. While lots of people claim that flossing isn’t worth the effort, they’re sadly mistaken. In fact, incorporating this habit into your daily routine is vital if you want to maintain a healthy mouth. Let’s talk about what flossing accomplishes and what can happen if you neglect this important habit.
Brushing Only Does So Much
You deserve a high-five if you brush your teeth twice a day, but you should never assume that your good brushing habit is the only key to keeping a clean mouth. Each tooth has five surfaces: the chewing surface, the front, the back, and the sides. When you brush your teeth, you remove plaque and food particles from only three of those surfaces. The toothbrush can’t reach the sides of the teeth because the spaces between your pearly whites are too tight for the bristles to reach in there. Therefore, you only clean about 60 percent of your teeth’s surface area when you brush your teeth.
Flossing takes care of the other 40 percent. By gently maneuvering the floss into those tight spaces, you can free your teeth of food particles and plaque. As a result, you’ll have a fresher, cleaner mouth and a reduced risk of dental decay and gum disease.
The Consequences of Not Flossing
To underscore the importance of flossing, consider what might happen if you neglect this essential habit:
- When sugars get caught between your teeth, they combine with bacteria in your mouth and produce plaque. Plaque is a sticky, acidic substance that eventually hardens into tartar, which leads to dental decay. If you do not floss to remove plaque, you may find that you continually develop cavities.
- When plaque and tartar accumulate along the gum line, they can infect the gums and cause them to become inflamed. This inflammation, known as gum disease, makes the gums red, swollen, and tender. In severe cases, it can lead to tooth loss and serious systemic health conditions.
- Not flossing leads to aesthetic problems. Substances that get stuck between your teeth can cause staining, thus robbing your smile of its radiance. You may also find that you suffer from persistent bad breath.
How are your flossing habits? If you see room for improvement in how often or how well you floss your teeth, visit your dentist for a hygiene appointment. You can receive personalized coaching on how to maintain a cleaner, healthier mouth. Your smile will thank you for your efforts!
About the Author
Dr. Erick Anderson is a skilled, experienced Colorado Springs dentist who truly cares about his patients. If you have any questions about how to maintain a healthy mouth, he’ll take the time to discuss all of your concerns with you. The hygienists who work with him are also eager to share tips to help patients prevent dental problems. To schedule an appointment with our practice’s team of professionals, contact us at 719-593-0988.