When people think about good dental hygiene, they often ignore the importance of flossing. However, flossing actually plays a critical role in maintaining both oral and overall health.
Flossing Cleans Teeth
A toothbrush cannot clean the tiny nooks and crannies between teeth, where bacteria may flourish. However, dental floss is thin enough to remove the bacteria or bits of food that may be hiding between your teeth. One of the reasons that flossing is so important is that it prevents cavities from occurring in between your teeth.
Not Flossing Causes Gum Disease
When you avoid flossing, the buildup of bacteria along the gumline can cause gum disease to progress. In the earliest stages of gum disease, a patient may experience gingivitis, which is characterized by red, swollen gums. If the gingivitis is left untreated and the patient continues to avoid flossing, periodontitis can occur. Periodontitis causes gum tissue and jaw bone material to decay, causing a patient to lose their teeth. Fortunately, studies have found that just two weeks of flossing can start to reverse gingivitis before it turns into gum disease.
Avoiding Flossing Causes Other Issues
Medical research has found that gum disease is linked to several other health conditions. The bacteria that build up when a patient does not floss can easily enter the bloodstream and travel throughout the body, causing inflammation that leads to serious conditions.
A patient's risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, strokes, or arthritis are all increased significantly if they have gum disease. If a patient develops one of these issues, medical research has found that the symptoms tend to improve once gum disease is treated.
How Often Should You Floss?
To avoid all of these negative consequences, flossing is absolutely essential. The American Dental Association emphasizes that it is imperative to floss at least once a day, to remove bacteria buildup before it can harden on the surface of teeth and gums.
However, flossing twice a day is even better, because studies find that this keeps gum disease from progressing. Seniors over the age of 65 are even more likely to develop gum disease, so dentists recommend that they be especially vigilant about flossing twice a day.
Please schedule a consultation with our office for more information on your gum health! Click here for our contact information.