Throughout our lives, we’ve been told time and time again that we need to floss our teeth regularly. But, why is this dental hygiene habit so important?
Recent articles circulating online have questioned the importance of flossing, suggesting that there is not enough scientific evidence to support the benefits associated with it. The ADA responded to these claims stating, “The bottom line for dentists and patients is that a lack of strong evidence doesn’t equate to a lack of effectiveness.” Basically, flossing is still an important element of maintaining healthy teeth and gums according to dental health professionals around the world.
Let’s take a closer look at what interdental cleaning does for your teeth and the consequence of neglecting those tricky, in-between areas of your mouth.
In the mouth, bacteria’s favorite place to camp out is in the cozy spaces between your teeth right by the gum line. Food debris settles in these spaces, giving bacteria lots of fuel to feed on. While brushing is essential to a daily dental routine, it can’t always get to these tiny spaces that bacteria love so much.
By flossing, you can clean in these tiny spaces, dislodging bacteria and cleaning out food and plaque. This effectively prevents gum problems caused by excess bacteria, such as gingivitis and periodontitis﹘ advanced gum disease characterized by severe inflammation and eventual tooth and bone loss.
No one wants to live with smelly breath day in and day out. Bad breath is a result of bacteria in the mouth digesting leftover food particles. The more food particles on and around the teeth and gums, the higher the likelihood of smelly breath among many other problems.
While sugar-free gum, mouthwash, and other minty freshening products are a quick fix, they are not a permanent solution. The best way to keep your breath consistently fresh is to brush your teeth for two minutes twice and a day and floss at least once a day.
By neglecting to floss, you invite problems with the gums. Flossing keeps bacteria from growing out of control around the gumline. The gums are the barrier between the inside of your body and all of those millions of bacteria that live in your mouth, so it’s crucial for dental health and overall health to keep gums strong and healthy. The healthier your gums are, the better they can protect you from invading bacteria.
No matter what you read on the web, there’s no need to question the benefits of flossing. The American Dental Association recommends that use of an interdental cleaner once a day, along with brushing with flouride toothpaste for two minutes twice a day and regular trips to the dentist.
There are many different interdental cleaning options, such as traditional dental floss, flossers with handles, and water picks. Try out your options, and pick the method that’s best for your daily hygiene routine. There’s no question﹘ flossing is essential to keeping you healthy, so do whatever you need to do to make a priority.