We’re taught from childhood that brushing and flossing are the two most important things we can do at home in order to care for our oral health. This remains true for a lifetime–an effective brushing and flossing routine combined with good diet and hydration go a long way towards keeping your teeth and gums healthy. However, while many of us know that flossing is important, many folks don’t fully know why it matters so much in maintaining your teeth and gums. So why is flossing important to your oral health and how exactly does it keep your teeth and gums at their best? Let’s take a look and learn a bit more.
First and foremost, flossing helps remove plaque and debris from the teeth and gums. This may sound like a small thing, but it’s the foundation of good oral health. If debris builds up in between teeth or under the gumline, it can spur bacteria growth. As the bacteria become more numerous, they form a sticky substance called plaque. Plaque in turn can harden into dental tartar, and either can weaken the enamel and give bacteria a place to take hold in the tooth leading to cavities, tooth damage, or even tooth loss. It can also lead to gum disease, but we’ll talk about that a bit later.
By helping to remove debris and to prevent plaque build-up, flossing can also help prevent bad breath. Also known as halitosis, bad breath could be a sign that something is wrong in the mouth. The best way to prevent bad breath is by brushing, flossing, using mouthwash, and having a good diet. If, despite your best efforts, your bad breath is persistent, it’s a good idea to bring it up to Dr. Stenvall and to see what she thinks might be the cause. Again, bad breath may be more than cosmetic–it can be a sign that something’s wrong.
We touched on gum disease before, but now is a good time to remember that flossing is key in preventing gum disease or gingivitis. Removing debris and plaque is critical in preventing infections of the gums. Gum disease can lead to red, swollen gums, gums which bleed easily, receding gums, and even tooth loss if it progresses far enough. By flossing, you will help to prevent gum disease and resulting health issues–which go further than many people suspect.
By helping to prevent infections in the mouth, flossing also helps protect your overall health. While the links between them aren’t entirely understood, it’s clear that oral health can have a significant impact on a number of other health issues, including heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune issues, and respiratory infections. COVID-19 offers a prime example: patients with gum disease were more likely to need serious medical intervention, including respirators. By keeping your teeth and gums healthy, you’ll be promoting your overall health and ensuring your best quality of life.
Flossing is just as important for your oral health as are brushing, a good diet, and regular trips to Queen City Dental Arts for exams and cleanings. By adopting an effective brushing and flossing routine, you’ll be promoting both healthy teeth and gums and your overall health. So if you’ve been slacking off a bit on flossing, today’s a good day to get back in the habit. You’ll thank yourself later if you do!