Did you know that only 40% of Americans floss each day and that 20% never floss? Not only that, but an estimated 25% of the population lies to their dentist about flossing. If you can count yourself among that group, don’t worry – we won’t hold it against you! As a dentist in Marietta, our goal is to educate you about the benefits of flossing instead of lecturing you. That way you can make an informed decision about the best way to take care of your oral health.
In that spirit, we wanted to write a blog about how flossing can benefit you and reduce the amount of dental work you need over the long term. Remember, when it comes to your oral health, a little bit of prevention goes a long way!
What Does Flossing Do That Brushing Can’t?
When we ask people about their brushing and flossing habits, we often hear something like, “I brush really well, but I don’t floss very often. I figure that my brushing is so good that I don’t need to floss.”
It’s understandable to think that great brushing will do the whole job of removing plaque from your teeth and gums, but unfortunately it doesn’t work that way.
In fact, if you’re not flossing, you’re missing about 1/3 of the surface area of your teeth. It would be like bathing every day with 1/3 of your body outside of the shower. No matter well you clean the 2/3 inside the shower, the remaining body parts are missed entirely!
How Does Flossing Benefit You?
- Fewer Cavities – The places where the back teeth touch, called contact points, are common areas for cavities. Floss is the only way to remove cavity-causing bacteria from these surfaces.
- Healthier Gums – Brushing does a great job cleaning above the gumline, but flossing removes plaque and bacteria from under the gumline where it can cause gum disease.
- Fresher Breath – Odor-causing bacteria feed on the food debris you’re leaving behind by not flossing, which contributes to bad breath.
- Reduced Risk for Disease – Researchers have found that having gum disease can increase your risk for all of the following: heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, pregnancy complications, and some cancers. Since flossing can help prevent gum disease, it can keep your entire body healthier as well!
Are There Effective Alternatives to Flossing?
Some people struggle with manual dexterity due to arthritis or other conditions. Thankfully, there are some other ways to clean in between your teeth!
While these tools may not clean in between the contact points of the teeth, they’ll certainly keep the gums much healthier than brushing alone:
- Floss picks
- Powered flossing devices
If you’d like individualized help with your hygiene routine at home, just ask your hygienist or dentist in West Cobb at your next checkup. They’re there to help you do the best job possible!