By Drs. Seth and Dana Keiles, Northern Westchester Dental Care
For many of us, flossing is little more than an annoying practice the dentist nags us to do. It’s not fun, it’s easy to forget, and because there’s no instant gratification to doing it, we often just don’t see the point. However, if you’re willing to add a couple of minutes to your daily brushing routine, flossing can pay off in long-term benefits to your dental health. Let’s look at 6 health benefits that daily flossing provides.
1. Prevent cavities
Brushing alone isn’t enough to prevent cavities because no matter how thorough you are, your toothbrush can’t reach all the surfaces of your teeth. Plaque can collect between your teeth over time and eventually cause tooth decay. Daily flossing helps keep these areas free of plaque so cavities can’t sneak up on you.
2. Fresher breath
Your mouth is a natural breeding ground for bacteria. It collects on bits of food stuck in your teeth, as well as on plaque and tartar buildup, emitting the odor we refer to as “bad breath.” Flossing your teeth removes these bacteria-breeding substances so your breath stays fresher.
3. Stimulates healthy gums
Just as a good massage increases blood flow in your muscles, flossing promotes healthy circulation in your gums. Not only will this circulation strengthen make your gums stronger and less prone to bleeding—it also reduces the risk of a receding gum line, which can expose your roots and make your teeth more vulnerable to disease.
4. Reduce risk of gum disease
The bad bacteria in your mouth does more than just cause bad breath—it can also cause infection in the gums (commonly called periodontitis, or gum disease). Gum disease can cause all sorts of complications in your mouth, including inflammation, receding gums, damage to the bone tissue, tooth loss and more. Flossing keeps this harmful bacteria at bay because it has no place to grow.
5. Reduces risk of inflammation in the body
The same bacteria that causes gum inflammation can enter the bloodstream and cause inflammation in other areas. Flossing removes the source of this harmful bacteria, reducing inflammation not just in the gums, but potentially relieving joint pain as well.
6. Reduces risk of other diseases
Your mouth is not isolated from the rest of your body, and the bacteria that grow there can have far reaching effects if not kept in check. Studies have linked gum disease to an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, stroke and even dementia. Daily flossing can significantly reduce the risk of other serious health complications.
So the next time you’re tempted to skip flossing, think again before ditching this “annoying” little habit. The extra couple of minutes a day can yield huge dividends, not only in your dental health, but your overall health, as well. If you have any questions, feel free to book a consultation with Northern Westchester Dental Care by clicking here.