We certainly hope you are, as this is the percentage of people who floss their teeth daily. Unfortunately, we know many people ignore this essential task, but it is important if you want to have strong, healthy gums and healthy teeth.
If you don’t currently floss every day, here is why it is important and some easy tips on how to make it a habit.
Why Is Flossing Necessary?
Daily flossing protects your teeth and gums against a host of dental problems. When you brush your teeth, you can only clean around two-thirds of each tooth. The contact areas between your teeth account for the other third; these areas can easily trap food particles and bacteria in dental plaque. These bacteria will feast on the food particles, eventually causing tooth decay, and gum disease frequently begins in these contact areas. When you floss before or after brushing your teeth, it removes dental plaque and food particles, protecting your teeth and gums.
What Happens If I Don’t Floss?
If you fail to floss regularly, plaque quickly builds up between teeth. In just a day or two, plaque starts to harden into tartar or calculus, and this crusty substance can longer be removed by brushing and flossing your teeth. The only way to remove calculus is to have your teeth cleaned professionally at our dental practice.
The bacteria in calculus will continue to feast on the leftover food and produce toxins that infect and inflame your gums, as well as acid that weakens your tooth enamel, so your risk of developing gum disease or cavities increases further. The presence of calculus makes it easier for more plaque to stick to your teeth.
While cavities are a problem, we are particularly concerned about gum disease as the inflammation in your gums can gradually destroy them and result in a loss of jawbone, so ultimately your teeth become loose and will either fall out or need to be extracted. Also, gum disease is linked to serious health problems, including cardiovascular disease, dementia, diabetes and respiratory problems.
How to Get into the Habit of Flossing Daily
If you keep forgetting to floss, then place a reminder on your phone to alert you, or even a sticky note on your bathroom mirror can be sufficient to make you reach for the dental floss. Another trick is to try listening to a podcast or music while you brush and floss; the time will fly by. Initially, you could also try rewarding yourself when you remember to floss daily, such as having a specialty coffee or indulging in a Netflix binge.
Lastly, if you find flossing difficult, please talk to us. We can demonstrate easy ways to floss effectively or talk about other alternatives, such as a water flosser, interdental brushes, or pre-threaded flossers.
Once you get the flossing habit, skipping it will soon feel wrong, especially when your reward is stronger, healthier gums and a nice clean smile.