The importance of brushing your teeth is known to most Americans, to the extent that it a part of their daily routine. Even so, it’s estimated that one quarter of adults in the US suffer from unknown cavities.
Did you know that flossing and brushing are much more effective than brushing alone? While brushing will take care of most of your dental hygiene, you need flossing to clean one third of your mouth.
Using floss or dental floss picks is a necessary and important process in cleaning your teeth, and statistics show that most people living in the US don’t seem to understand that: in fact, nearly 4 out of 5 Americans are affected by gum disease. Most don’t realize that flossing should begin when you have two teeth that can touch each other — meaning that young children should be flossing as well.
What does flossing do?
Plaque is a biofilm filled with bacteria that naturally forms on teeth and gums. When using a toothbrush, the bristles scrub away plaque from your teeth. However, toothbrushes have a fatal flaw: they cannot reach between teeth or under gums.
Flossing and using dental floss picks allow you to scrub away stubborn plaque that will give you gum disease later on. This also allows the fluoride in your toothpaste to get into stubborn or hard to reach areas, and helps keep plaque from eating away at your teeth.
What happens if you don’t floss?
Cleaning between teeth and under gums allows the plaque to build up and become tartar. Once you have tartar, the only way to get rid of it is to get it scraped off by a dentist. Tartar is the main contributing factor to the gum disease gingivitis.
Gingivitis causes reddened gums that bleed. Over time, gingivitis will become periodontitis, a much more serious gum disease that leads to losing teeth. Currently around 50% of adults in the US currently have some stage of periodontitis, so flossing today will lead to fewer dentist and orthodontist visits down the road.
Are there any other conditions not-flossing contributes to?
Even with regular brushing, buildup of plaque and tartar can also contribute to halitosis. However, even scarier is that the bacteria in the mouth can lead to even worse infections in the body. Studies show that people with poor oral health or flossing skills also tend to suffer from heart conditions or diabetes.
The plaque that builds up in your mouth is capable of containing up to 700 different kinds of bacteria. Those bacteria can spread to other parts of the body, causing inflammation, blood clots, or even pneumonia.
Bleeding gums are often the first warning signs of gum health problems. To ensure that your gums are the best condition, remember to brush and floss or use dental floss picks daily, and go for regular check ups. Additionally, you can also use ADA approved mouth wash to help your oral health.