So every year you get your teeth cleaned, and every year the dentist tells you, “Brush your teeth twice a day and floss.” If you’re like me, you that first part and just toss that “floss” bit to the wind. Who needs to floss? Brushing your teeth does the same thing, right? Wrong. Believe it or not, dentists know what they’re talking about. Flossing is a crucial part of maintaining dental hygiene. If you don’t floss, you could end up with some serious problems.
Brushing and flossing reduces the bacteria that creates cavities and bad breath. While brushing your teeth is good and removes the combination of mucus and debris in your mouth that is known as plaque, it doesn’t get all of it. It’s like washing only 65 percent of your body. That 35 percent you skip is the plaque that escapes the toothbrush and ends up in the cracks between your teeth, which then sits and becomes tartar. Although you can remove plaque with a brush or floss, you can’t remove tartar; only a dentist can.
As this tartar builds, more dangerous types of bacteria build up, producing toxins which can irritate and inflame your gums. This inflammation is known as gingivitis, that thing they talk about in Listerine commercials. If left untreated, gingivitis becomes periodontal disease, a condition where that dangerous bacteria and toxins invade not only the gums but also the bone structures supporting it. Yikes! This can lead to bone loss, loose teeth, and subsequently tooth loss. It has also been reported that it increases your risk of heart disease.
So paw around for that dusty container of floss in the back of your drawer and use it today when you brush your teeth. If you don’t, you might end up losing a tooth or two!
By Aisling Williams