Do you actually have to floss? Some have questioned whether flossing is genuinely needed to maintain oral health. Read here to find out the truth behind flossing.
We have all heard how important it is to floss regularly. When you visit the dentist, you have surely been asked if you have been flossing. Dentists are often asked if flossing is really that important. Dental patients may even ask what would happen if they didn’t floss. Let’s explore what flossing actually does…
Benefits of Flossing
Flossing serves to clean the areas between your teeth and underneath your gums that brushing doesn’t reach. It is like cleaning the underside of a pan or dish. If you only wash the top surface of the pan or dish, you are leaving half of it dirty. The same is true if you just brush your teeth without flossing—you’re only doing part of the job. When you floss, you are breaking up the plaque bacterial biofilm on your teeth. Flossing once a day continues to be encouraged by countless health organizations including the American Dental Association (ADA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Center for Disease Control (CDC), and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. On top of a healthier mouth, flossing also helps you maintain fresher breath!
What Happens If You Don’t Floss?
If you don’t floss, the areas that your toothbrush cannot reach become breeding grounds for bacteria and plaque—which hide in nooks and crannies and cause major problems for your teeth. If the biofilm on your teeth is not broken up, bacteria colonizes and alters the chemistry of your mouth, allowing new pathogens to survive. This is a dangerous development that makes you significantly more vulnerable to gingivitis, gum disease, and bone didease. When plaque is allowed to pile up along the gum line, you are also at risk for cavities or tooth decay. More than 500 bacterial species can live in plaque! The good news is that flossing regularly protects you from gum disease and keeps the biofilm at bay.
What’s the Verdict?
Do you actually have to floss? Yes, flossing is very important to your oral health. It should be a part of your daily routine and will protect you from many problems down the road.
If you have any more questions, be sure to ask your dental hygienist or dentist the next time you visit Cornerstone Dentistry. If you’re ready for your next checkup, schedule your appointment today. Happy flossing!