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Why is flossing one of the most important parts of maintaining oral health?

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Aside from seeing a dentist for a professional teeth cleaning at least once every six months, there's a daily routine you should stick to at home to maintain good levels of oral hygiene. This recommended routine includes brushing your teeth at least twice per day and, perhaps just as important, flossing at least once per day. Yet, it's estimated that up to 80 percent of all people don't floss. Further studies state that the majority of Americans would rather go grocery shopping than floss their teeth.

Apparently, 80 percent of the population who deem flossing as such an inconvenience don't mind gum disease and more cavities over time. Yes, flossing is that important. Here's a closer look at why it's such an important part of oral care.

Importance of flossing

Flossing is intended to remove excess plaque and food from the spaces between the teeth, as well as the area where the base of the teeth meet the gums - areas where the bristles of the toothbrush are unable to effectively reach. Here's a look at what may happen if you fail to floss on a daily basis:

  • Food and plaque can harden to form tartar in the areas where the base of the teeth meets the gums. This can lead to gingivitis- the first sign of gum disease.
  • Gingivitis can usually be reversed with a thorough scraping and cleaning, but if it's left untreated, the plaque may travel down beneath the surface of the gums, leading to periodontitis. This is characterized as severe gum disease, and common side effects include tooth loss and bone loss (not to mention inflamed and bleeding gums).
  • Failure to floss can also lead to unhealthy amounts of bacteria in the mouth. But contrary to what you may believe, other parts of the body can be impacted by this buildup. For instance, excess bacteria and gum disease has been linked to heart disease, diabetes and even respiratory illnesses.

Flossing tips

Now that we've covered a bit about the importance of flossing, here's a look at some tips for maximizing its effectiveness when you do:

  • Floss at night, before you brush your teeth. Flossing at night is more effective than flossing in the morning because you can ensure that food and plaque aren't left to fester in your mouth for 8 hours as you sleep.
  • The best flossing technique is to get a piece of floss 15-18 inches in size, work it in between each tooth and down to the gum line, before bringing it back up. Try to even dip the floss underneath the gum line.
  • If you have arthritis or have a hard time reaching floss into the back parts of the mouth, consider purchasing a tool that uses water and air to remove plaque from teeth or a similar tool to make the task easier.

Now that you know a bit about the importance of flossing and the role it plays in oral health (not to mention full-body health), no more excuses! Flossing only takes a few minutes is easy to do and the benefits clearly outweigh the cons.

For more information on the importance of flossing, contact Caven Dental today.

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