Every time you visit your dentist, you’ll invariably be told before you get one foot out the door to floss regularly. This reminder is often mirrored by your parents at home. Now, you may be thinking, "isn't brushing my teeth enough to keep it clean?"
Well, as it turns out, regular flossing should be part of your dental health routine. It may seem tempting to skip this step, but you should be aware that doing so is harmful to your teeth. In the long run, forgetting to floss can cause gum disease and tooth decay.
To help you understand the importance of flossing, here are some of the reasons why it should be part of your daily routine.
Plaque is a pale film that accumulates around your teeth and gum line. You can’t see it because it’s colorless, but you can feel it with your tongue. It gives your teeth’s surface a weird, fuzzy feel.
Plaque forms when bacteria in your mouth combine with sugary or starchy food residue. The bacteria will act on the carbohydrates in these food remnants by releasing acids that break these down. This mixture and activity is what develops plaque in your mouth and on your gums.
When plaque builds up, it can harden, turning into that chalky residue around your teeth called tartar. When this occurs, you increase the possibility of developing gum disease.
A cavity is a hole or small opening in the surface of your teeth. Cavities don't occur right away. These happen over time due to the acids that come from plaque, which can destroy your tooth enamel.
When there’s more plaque on your teeth, the higher your chances of developing cavities. If you floss once a day, however, you get rid of tiny food particles that may develop into plaque. Breaking this destructive chain of events lowers your risk of tooth decay and cavities.
Practicing good dental and oral hygiene doesn’t only help your gums and teeth. It can also give you heart health benefits. A study found that individuals who practiced good oral hygiene had a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.
According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, bad oral health may raise your risk for stroke and heart disease. You should know that these are two of the leading causes of death in the country.
Gingivitis is a mild type of periodontal or gum disease. It causes redness, irritation, and inflammation to your gingiva. The gingiva is the part of your gum near the base of your teeth. Bleeding gums while flossing or brushing is one of the first signs of gingivitis.
If you don't treat gingivitis in its early stages, it can lead to a severe infection called periodontitis. Periodontitis can cause your gums to retract from your teeth and
your teeth may lose support from your jawbone.
If left untreated, the bacteria causing periodontitis can spread to other parts of your body via your bloodstream. This can cause other serious health issues such as rheumatoid arthritis and respiratory problems.
Good oral and dental hygiene can help prevent this. Brush and floss regularly, plus make it a habit to visit a Hamilton dentist for a checkup and cleaning every six months.
Flossing at least once a day can do wonders for your health – both dental and overall. The failure to floss daily can lead to many health diseases that can even cost you your life.