A new study has revealed the truth: A lot of adults say they floss, but as many as 27 percent of those are being dishonest. The reasons are unclear. Likely, most adults know that they should be flossing and don’t want to admit that their oral health habits are falling short. However, most probably don’t realize the true impact of bypassing floss. Flossing helps to safeguard against gum disease, thereby protecting us from a range of other conditions as well.
Why We Floss
The tight, interdental spaces between teeth can be nearly impossible to reach with a toothbrush alone. Plaque can easily build up in these spaces. Some patients use toothpicks in an attempt to clean these tight areas after a meal. However, they cannot reach as much as floss, and the sharp ends can actually harm tender gum tissue. Floss is specifically designed to reach the crevices that other dental cleaning devices can’t reach, and prevent plaque buildup in hard to reach areas.
What Happens When We Don’t Floss?
The bottom line is gum disease. Bacteria can begin within plaque buildup and gradually make its way into the gums, leading to periodontitis and a host of other health issues. If you don’t floss regularly, you may eventually begin to experience problems such as bleeding gums, bad breath, discolored teeth, cavities, and even tooth loss. Unfortunately, the problems don’t end there.
Research has shown again and again that there is an alarming connection between gum disease and heart disease. It is believed that the inflammation caused by periodontitis may be to blame, but whatever the cause, the relationship between the two is evident. Additionally, gum disease has been shown to exacerbate other heart conditions, as well as increase the risk of stroke, diabetes, and premature birth.
The good news is that treatment of gum disease has also been shown to help improve these other conditions and dramatically reduce medical costs. One recent study showed that individuals suffering from diabetes and heart disease who treated their periodontitis had a reduction of 20 – 40 percent in their healthcare costs.
Now that you know how critical it is, don’t just tell your dentist that you floss. It’s time to start doing it! Such a small task that can easily be made part of a routine can have a very big impact on your overall health. This may just be the simplest step you’ve ever taken to help ensure your future.