If you are like most Americans, you know you should brush your teeth twice a day and are generally good about following through. How often should you floss though? Based on a 2019 study published in the Journal of Periodontology, flossing isn’t taken nearly as seriously, judging by the numbers:
- Only 31% of people surveyed floss daily during a seven-day period
- 32% of respondents did not floss at all during the seven-day period discussed.
To clear up confusion, Dr. Sninski, a leading dentist in Cary, is breaking down not only how often you should floss, but five reasons it’s so important to do so.
How Often Should You Floss Your Teeth?
According to the American Dental Association, you should floss at least once a day, preferably at night, before you go to bed. Why is timing important?
During the day, you’re eating and drinking, but you’re also producing more saliva that continually rinses your teeth and helps to dislodge food particles. Overnight, any food particles left on your teeth stay there, feeding bacteria in your mouth and attacking your tooth enamel. Flossing before bed ensures you’re going to bed with a fresh, healthy mouth with as little bacteria present as possible.
5 Reasons to Floss Daily
If you brush twice a day, you may feel like you’re doing enough to keep your teeth healthy, but brushing is only half the battle. There are five key reasons you should floss daily.
Prevents Tooth Decay
As we mentioned above, when food particles, especially sugar and high-starch particles, stay on the teeth or get trapped in hard-to-reach areas, bacteria in the mouth feed off these particles. In doing so, they release an acidic substance that eats away at tooth enamel. Over time, this leads to cavities and tooth decay between the teeth or along the gum line.
Prevents Gum Disease
Flossing doesn’t just remove food particles and debris on the teeth, it can also reduce the plaque and particles along and below the gum line. If left behind, bacteria will grow below the gums, leading to gingivitis, a deteriorating condition that affects 47 percent of American adults. Over time and without treatment, gum disease will worsen, causing infection and even tooth loss.
Stops Gums from Bleeding
If you avoid flossing because your gums bleed, it’s not the flossing that’s causing this problem. Debris and bacteria around the gums cause inflammation, and flossing can irritate the inflamed tissues, causing them to bleed. By brushing and flossing regularly, you can stop bleeding gums when you floss.
If you have cramped teeth, consider waxed floss or even a water flosser for an easier time.
Improves Your Breath
While onions and garlic can cause temporary bad breath that can be eliminated with a quick brush of your teeth and gums, more serious, chronic bad breath is caused by bacteria. Again, removing the food particles, plaque, and debris will minimize the bacteria, helping you achieve fresher breath.
Maintains an Attractive Smile
By flossing daily, brushing twice a day, and getting regular dental checkups and teeth cleanings, you’ll minimize the risk of tartar build-up, cavities, and gum disease, so you can show off a healthy smile to the world.
Schedule an Appointment for a Dental Checkup Today
Professional dental checkups and cleanings are just as important as daily dental care at home. If you are due for a checkup, our two convenient locations can help you. Call us at our Holly Springs dentist office at (919) 600-6262 and our Cary, NC dentist office at (919) 467-2203. You can also fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.