How often do you floss? Is it necessary? How does it benefit your mouth? Flossing is one of those things we are told to do, and we know we probably should do it, but often we put it in an optional category. The truth is that flossing has enormous benefits and should be done every day. It can do things toothbrushes can’t and is a very important part of oral health. So, if you’re having some trouble motivating yourself to pick up that floss, consider these four key benefits of flossing:
#1: Flossing Does What a Toothbrush Cannot
Brushing your teeth is obviously very important. It is the first line of defense against cavities and a daily habit that helps keep our mouths clean and healthy. However, a toothbrush cannot remove all the food and bacteria that get trapped between your teeth. Flossing allows you to reach areas that a toothbrush cannot and remove bacteria before it turns into plaque.
Thankfully, when you prevent plaque buildup, you are stopping the cycle of plaque turning into tartar. Tartar is a hard, crusty substance that gets stuck on the teeth. Tartar needs removing by a dentist or hygienist, but proper dental home care can prevent the need for professional tartar removal.
#2: Flossing for Fresh Breath
We all want fresh breath and know that uncomfortable feeling when it’s not at its best. What we might not know, though, is how flossing prevents bad breath. When bacteria is trapped between our teeth, there is a risk of it causing halitosis. Removing the bacteria means removing potential odor. The simple act of flossing daily can help keep your breath smell fresher and your mouth stay healthier. It’s a tiny act that comes with huge rewards.
#3: Flossing Fights Gum Disease
We talked about plaque prevention, but what does plaque actually do? At a surface level, plaque can stain the teeth, which isn’t very pleasant. On a deeper level, it can build up and cause permanent damage. When plaque and tartar are not removed, the bacteria can cause gum disease. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease which causes the gums to become inflamed. The gums will appear red and swollen and can bleed easily.
Fortunately, gingivitis can be treated and prevented with good oral hygiene. Proper brushing, flossing, rinsing, and regular dental checkups will make the gums healthy and happy again. If gingivitis is not dealt with, it can turn into periodontitis, which requires dental intervention. Periodontitis is when the gums around the tooth get inflamed and pull away. This causes pockets, and these pockets then become infected. The bacteria spreading beneath the gum line can cause bone loss, and eventually the tooth can become loose and need to be removed. While flossing might seem unnecessary, it can truly save your teeth.
#4: Flossing Keeps You Healthy
Flossing doesn’t just benefit the health of your mouth; it improves the health of your entire body. In fact, flossing helps prevent heart disease. The link between oral health and heart health still needs more research, but there is a lot of information worth reading about the connection. This is definitely something to consider if you are struggling with motivation to floss.
The Correct Way to Floss to Get All the Benefits of Flossing
If you are ready to floss, you may have questions about the proper way to do this. You will want to hold the floss tightly between your thumb and index finger and place it between your teeth in a C shape. You will then ease the floss up and down away from the gum line before moving to the next tooth. For each new tooth, make sure you use a clean section of floss and throw it out when you are finished. You are now ready to floss each day and, as a result, enjoy healthier teeth and gums and fresher breath!