We all know that we should floss, but seldom do we see that vision through. Most people even lie about how much they floss to their dentists when they ask, “How often do you floss?” There is no point in lying because the dentist looks inside the mouth, only to see mild plaque build-up that may not be there if you floss regularly.
As much as dentists harp on flossing, are there really benefits to this oral care activity? The American Dental Association (ADA) says that interdental cleaners like floss play an integral role in removing bacteria, plaque, and other debris from areas that a toothbrush cannot reach. That’s why most dentists encourage people to floss daily, in addition to brushing. Flossing helps you dig out a lingering piece of popcorn, steak, celery, or carrot chunk. The relief is amazing and you may not get that food piece unstuck with a toothbrush. Aside from getting food out of your teeth and helping your gums feel great, flossing can also lead to the following benefits.
May Prevent Gum Disease
Plaque doesn’t just stain your teeth or make them look unsightly. Plaque build-up in the mouth can increase the risk of gum disease, which refers to inflammation and infection of the gums. Failure to remove this plaque can cause it to eat away at gum tissue, the primary indicator of periodontal disease. Periodontitis is the advanced form of periodontal disease, and that can result in root canals or extreme tooth decay. An effective way to combat these gum diseases is by flossing on a regular basis because it can help remove bacteria from the base of the teeth.
May Benefit Your Heart Health
How can flossing your teeth help your heart? Well, a large body of research supports the link between oral health and heart health. As wild as this theory seems, it is actually quite valid. A 2010 review found a strong link between gum disease and heart disease. That doesn’t necessarily mean that gum disease causes heart disease; rather, researchers believe that people who take better care of their teeth most likely take care of their overall health. A 2020 study followed over 160,000 people who kept a strict oral hygiene routine for over 10 years. The results indicated that these participants experienced a decreased risk of heart problems like heart failure and irregular heartbeat.
Reduce The Risk Of Cavities
Tooth decay can result in cavities, which cause tiny openings or holes in the hard surface of the teeth, also known as enamel. The more plaque on your enamel, the higher risk you are for developing cavities. When you floss at least once per day, you can get rid of hidden food particles and plaque build-up, both of which increase the risk of tooth decay. The toothbrush can’t always reach every part of your teeth, especially between them, which is why the ADA encourages daily flossing.
Helps With Bad Breath
Forget that breath mint and bust out the floss before your big date! A 2013 research review found that you may be able to kick halitosis to the curb by flossing on a regular basis. Even if you brush regularly, bacteria can build up between your teeth. In addition to an increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease, you can experience serious odors if you don’t get rid of bacterial build-up between the teeth. An interdental brush and the occasional use of a tongue scraper can also help keep bad breath at bay.
Get Rid Of Plaque
As we’ve mentioned throughout this article, the removal of plaque can help keep your teeth and gums healthy. It can be difficult to see plaque at first because it is a stick, colorless film that collects around and between the teeth and along the gum lining. The combination of starchy and sugary foods and drinks is a recipe for plaque formation. Bacteria release acids that break down carbohydrates and failure to brush and floss means that plaque can accumulate more easily. If too much plaque builds up, it can harden and turn into tartar, which collects along the gum line. That increases the risk of gum disease!