Flossing: Most people don’t do it regularly

If someone (say your dentist) asked you if you brush your teeth every day you’d probably answer with a resounding yes. You’d probably be thinking, “Who doesn’t brush their teeth every day? Ick!” However, if that same person asked you if you floss every day you’d probably pause for a long moment and then give some vague answer. The truth is, if you’re like most people, you don’t floss every day. In fact, you probably only guilt-floss which means religiously flossing in just the week before and after a dentist visit.

We get it: Flossing is GROSS!

That habit is bad but understandable. Flossing is gross. You have to use a string to pry old food and accumulated gunk from between your teeth. Your gums may bleed. The little chunks of matter you dislodge stink! On top of that, they fly everywhere – they get on your hands, the sink, the mirror, and who knows where else. Brushing is so much cleaner and rewarding. Your hands are kept unscathed by the toothbrush and you’re left with a fresh taste in your mouth while the remnants of this activity are neatly washed down the drain.

Here’s what flossing prevents

Here’s the thing though, brushing just isn’t enough. There is a good reason (actually reasons) why you should floss every day – and it isn’t just because your mother told you to! Here are some of the things that flossing prevents:

  • Tooth Decay and Cavities – Dental plaque builds up between your teeth, and when the bacteria that lives in dental plaque begin feeding on sugar and food particles they produce an acid that eats into tooth enamel and causes tooth decay and cavities.
  • Gum Disease – A build up of dental plaque around the gums and between the teeth leads to the first stage of gum disease: Gingivitis. When gingivitis isn’t properly treated it can progress to another stage known as periodontal disease. This is a condition where bacteria invades the gums, bones, and structures supporting the teeth.
  • Halitosis (a.k.a. Bad Breath) – Dental plaque contains bacteria and the metabolism of that bacteria is one of the causes of halitosis. To understand why this causes bad breath think of how perishable food might smell when you leave it sitting out at room temperature for an extended period. It would stink, and you wouldn’t want it in your mouth would you?
  • Tartar Build-Up – When dental plaque hardens due to saliva’s calcifying action it’s called tartar. Flossing can slow the accumulation of tarter.

On top of preventing the above mentioned oral issues, flossing can reduce the risk of other health problems including:

  • Heart Disease – Dental plaque contains harmful bacteria, and if those harmful bacteria aren’t removed they can enter the bloodstream, reach the heart, and cause heart disease complications.
  • Diabetes – Individuals with diabetes usually have a weakened immune system and therefore take more time to fight inflammation and infections including those that start in the mouth.

In addition to preventing health issues, flossing is also a great return on investment for both your time and money. A container of floss costs probably no more than $3 – how much is a cavity or other dental issue going to cost you? You can spend a couple of dollars and 2 minutes a day flossing or you can pay hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars to correct dental problems plus hours suffering from the related pain and in the dental chair. Not to mention the time and money you’ll loose from having to take off of work.

If you only brush your teeth and don’t floss it’s like only washing half of your body when you shower – would that make any sense? When you think about it there are many reasons you should floss. Overall, it’s a great investment for the health of your entire body, your time, and your money.

About the Author
Kristen Willford is passionate about health and writing. She is a writer for the Mason, Ohio dentist – Healthy Smiles Dental Care

Cory Kemp is the founder and chief editor of DentalPlanCards.com. He's committed to providing consumers with helpful tips for saving money at the dentist. Follow me on Google +