If you’re one of the millions of Americans who fail to floss daily, your inactions have placed your oral health in serious jeopardy. A 2008 study found that 51 percent of Americans fail to floss daily, with 10 percent admitting to not flossing at all, which shows that the majority of adults in the U.S. fail to appreciate the important role the habit plays in helping to maintain healthy teeth and gums. At Sonora Dentist – your choice for dentist in Sonora, who know just how important flossing can be – so to help you better understand the importance of flossing, and it’s one habit you always need to make time for, here are five flossing facts to consider.
Flossing Does Make a Difference
I never get food stuck between my teeth is one of the most common excuses dentists hear from patients about why they don’t floss. However, even if you could someone manage to never get food lodged between two teeth or if you use a water pick between meals to remove lingering food particles from your mouth, the most important reason you need to floss has little to do with removing food debris.
Flossing helps to remove harmful bacteria that builds up between your teeth called plaque. When left to fester between your teeth, plaque contributes directly to the development of tooth decay and gum disease. If you don’t think that what little plaque remains trapped between teeth can have that big an impact, consider that the most common places for cavities to develop in the mouth is between teeth.
You Can Learn to Floss
Many people may feel discouraged from flossing because they don’t feel comfortable with the correct way to floss. However, just as you eventually learned how to shave, apply makeup, drive a car, or perform countless other activities that take time to master, learning how to floss requires little more than a willingness to practice.
If you feel lost when trying to floss, talk with your dentist about the best flossing techniques. You can also visit the website of the American Dental Association where you can watch videos and view tutorials about the best flossing practices.
You Have the Time to Floss
Another common excuse heard by dentists is that patients don’t have the time required to floss. As you’ll discover when learning the correct ways to floss, the practice does take between three to five minutes to properly complete. However, when you consider the immense health benefits associated with flossing, not being able to find five minutes a day in which to floss seems like a very poor decision, especially if you can find to comb your hair, trim facial hair, apply makeup, or perform a variety of other personal grooming habits.
Look for time saving ways where you can fit flossing into your day, such as during car ride commutes to work or when checking your email or Facebook accounts at night before bed.
You Should Floss More When it Hurts
If your gums feel tender, swollen, or begin to bleed after flossing, you actually need to floss more not less. These are common symptoms of early stage gum disease called gingivitis. When left untreated, gingivitis can lead to the development of periodontitis, a severe form of the disease, and a leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Fortunately, you can help reverse the effects of gingivitis by flossing and brushing more frequently. So if your gums feel tender at first, keep flossing and you can make a big impact on your oral health.
You Do Have the Coordination to Floss
Individuals who suffer from limited dexterity, such as those who have suffered a stroke or deal with debilitating arthritis, may feel unable to correctly floss. While the use of traditional spools of floss might have proved problematic for individuals with these conditions, in recent years a number of companies have started manufacturing floss picks that can allow a person to adequately floss using just one hand.
If you suffer from limited mobility in the hands, talk with your dentist about the best brands and techniques to use for dental picks.