Flossing is something that every dentist tells every patient they need to do, but is every patient’s least favorite activity. It’s tedious, and depending on the state of your teeth, can be difficult and sometimes painful. So the question we all want to ask our dentist: Do I actually need to floss every day? Will it make that much of a difference in my oral health? Short answer: yes. Long answer: keep reading.
For many years, the government said we should all be brushing our teeth every day, it was part of the dietary guidelines issued by the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services. But every day flossing was dropped from these guidelines in 2016. Why? Because they hadn’t done enough research to support the recommendation. Shortly after, the American Academy of Periodontology stated that most current evidence falls short because researchers had not been able to include enough participants or follow participants’ gum health for a long enough time to make such a guideline.
That said, flossing enables you to clean the surfaces on your teeth that a tooth brush simply cannot get to, no matter how skilled a brusher you may be. Flossing every day won’t save your teeth or keep you free of cavities, but depending on how food and plaque collects on your teeth, flossing is still an important part of the dental hygiene routine. Here are some benefits of flossing:
- Removes plaque, which can eventually eat away at your teeth and cause decay and cavities.
- Prevents gum disease by removing food and buildup along the gumline that a toothbrush cannot reach.
- Prevents bad breath. Food that is trapped between teeth for a long time starts to grow bacteria, which can cause an unpleasant smell and bad breath.
- Flossing usually requires us to get up close and personal with our mouth and teeth, so you may be able to spot any unusual sores or growths that you hadn’t noticed before that need to be looked at by a dentist.
Ask your dentist what they would recommend for your particular teeth. If flossing is uncomfortable for you, look into a Waterpik, which uses a stream of water to clean between teeth, or floss picks, which have handles that let you get to hard-to-reach places more effectively. These items can be particularly helpful for people who have sensitive gums, or whose gums bleed easily after regular flossing.
If you are one of the many of us who have at times neglected flossing and are now dealing with cavities or other dental issues as a result, call Perdido bay Dental today to schedule a free consultation: (850) 542-4428. We’re one of the leading dental practices in the west Pensacola/Perido area.