Many of us forget to floss or don’t even bother.
So, should you floss? Does it even matter?
Here are four good reasons why you should never forget to floss again.
1. Flossing keeps your teeth clean
Every tooth has five surfaces: the front, the back, the bottom and two sides. When we brush our teeth, we can remove most of the gunk and food residue that builds up on the front, back and bottom of our teeth. But the sides of our teeth are hard to reach with a regular toothbrush. This is where flossing is essential.
If you don’t floss, the two side surfaces of your precious teeth are left unclean. Over time, things can get pretty nasty in there between your teeth. Don’t fool yourself by using toothpicks or fingernails to pick away leftover food. Floss is the only thing that will properly reach that elusive space between your teeth, to remove bacteria and debris.
And when it comes to flossing, don’t let the ‘out of sight’ parts of your mouth be ‘out of mind’. Remember to floss behind your back teeth — this is the place where gum disease and decay is most likely to manifest.
2. Dental floss gets rid of nasty bacteria
You may not realise, but there’s a war going on in your mouth. Over time, we accumulate harmful plaque bacterial biofilm on and between our teeth. Flossing helps to break up this bacteria-riddled biofilm and keep our mouths clean.
If the bacteria stay on our teeth, they tend to colonise and conquer – it’s real warfare in there. Plaque bacteria can actually change the chemistry of our mouths, which opens the door to dangerous disease-causing pathogens.
Once the pathogens make themselves at home in your mouth, you are at increased risk of developing infections and disease. People who don’t floss are vulnerable to gum infection (gingivitis). This infection often leads to gum disease (periodontitis) and can ultimately cause tooth loss.
3. Flossing helps keep your breath fresh
The longer you leave nasty bacteria in your mouth, the more likely they are to cause swelling and sulphur-like odours. Also, if your diet includes smelly foods – like garlic and onion – you may experience bad breath, or halitosis.
Nobody wants to have bad breath. But luckily there are some failsafe oral hygiene solutions for halitosis – and flossing is one of them! Regular flossing will help you get rid of the stink. Flossing and rinsing will loosen hidden bits of food to prevent odour-causing bacteria from multiplying.
Dental floss does much more than guarantee a healthier mouth. When you floss regularly, you’ll also feel the benefits of fresher breath.
4. Flossing is a fountain of youth
Clean, healthy teeth and gums are the hallmark of beauty and youthfulness. If you allow gum disease to eat away at your teeth and gums, it will ultimately ruin the fresh, youthful look of your smile.
The damage from periodontitis doesn’t stop at your gums; it can also attack the bones that support your teeth and the lower parts of your face. If you let gum disease have its way with you, you’ll be left looking worse for wear.
If you floss regularly to preserve those jawbones, you will almost certainly look better as you age. So regular flossing can effectively keep us looking younger longer.
If you need an incentive to give flossing a go, just remember: dirty teeth, disease, bad breath and premature ageing. These four reasons should be enough to convince you that flossing is worth the time and trouble.
Are you a full-time flosser? Or a dental hygiene dinosaur? Everyone has a unique flossing story to tell. Share your flossing tips and tribulations in the comments section below.