You see the little container of dental floss on your bathroom sink right by your toothbrush. You know you should get around to using it, but sometimes it seems like too much of a process. You have to take out a piece of floss, wrap it around your middle and index fingers, place it between two teeth, and move it up and down to remove food and plaque. Doing that for all the spaces in between your teeth can feel like a hassle. However, not flossing is associated with certain health risks. Learn why flossing is so important from a dentist near Clintonville, OH.
What Happens If I Don’t Floss?
The main purpose of flossing is to remove leftover food particles and plaque from between your teeth. Both of these can cause serious dental problems if left to accumulate. Food particles attract bacteria, which can cause cavities between your teeth. Bacteria can also irritate the gum tissue and making it become red and inflamed and bleed easily, which leads to gingivitis. The same plaque that causes gingivitis can build up and erode your enamel, resulting in cavities in between your teeth.
Does Not Flossing Affect My Overall Health?
When left untreated, gingivitis can progress into periodontal disease. This disease causes the teeth to separate from the gums and form pockets, which bacteria can enter. They can travel through your bloodstream to other parts of your body like your respiratory tract and your heart, increasing your risk for pneumonia and heart disease, respectively. The best way to prevent problems like these from happening is to brush and floss every single day.
What If I Don’t Like Flossing?
Traditional flossing can be a bit of a pain, especially when you first start. However, there are a few alternative methods to more comfortably and easily clean between your teeth, such as:
- Water picks. Also known as water flossers, these devices shoot a steady stream of water in between your teeth to remove debris. They are useful if you don’t want to stick an object between your teeth or you have tight spaces between your teeth.
- Floss picks. Floss picks have a plastic handle, two prongs, and a string of floss between the prongs. Their long handles make it easier to reach back teeth. They are also easy to pack, so they make a great option for traveling.
- Interdental brushes. Interdental brushes contain a handle and a thin flossing head that makes it easier for people with mobility issues to floss. Unlike floss picks, interdental brushes do not need to be discarded after a single use. They simply need to be replaced after they appear worn or bent.
Although flossing is no one’s favorite activity, it is so beneficial. Abstaining from flossing can have serious health consequences. If you’re having trouble starting flossing, ask your dentist for some pointers.
About the Author
Dr. Eric Buck earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the Ohio State University College of Dentistry. He wants to help his patients keep as much of their natural smiles as possible, and that starts with at-home oral care like flossing. To ask him for some tips on flossing, click here or call (614)-459-7766.