Benefits of Flossing .. Why Flossing is so important

Flossing can save your life .. Why flossing is so important

Know the reasons why flossing is so important

Most people underestimate the importance of maintaining proper oral hygiene, thinking that the worse that could happen is that they lose one or a few teeth, and they think “so what, I have 32 teeth, what’s the problem with losing one or two?”.

Emerging from that clearly misinformed point of view, we are here to explain the importance of proper oral hygiene, and particularly why flossing is so important.

Our mouths are delicate environments. They are made of teeth (32 in number in a fully grown adult) as well as other tissues as the gums, the bones, the tongue, the muscles and even the cheeks. We have been blessed with 32 teeth for a reason, and each one of these teeth has a purpose in this awesome environment.

Nothing, and we mean nothing, of the new modalities of teeth replacements such as bridges, dentures and implants could even hold a candle to what a natural tooth
can do, but we will talk more about that later on.

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Now let’s answer the nagging question: “Why flossing is so important?”

Flossing is the act of cleaning between the teeth. In these areas, food and bacteria tend to gather and multiply, and they are shielded from the action of the tooth brush. It is in those areas that most diseases of the mouth such as gum disease and decay start.

Flossing using different means ( either traditional string floss, floss tape, interdental brushes, air flossers or water flossers) is the only act capable of properly cleaning those shielded areas, and is possibly single-handedly responsible for reducing the chances of developing gum disease.

So let’s get more in detail, here is what could happen if you don’t floss:

  • Food remnants accumulate between the teeth, and by time they turn into plaque. If this plaque is left uncleaned, it hardens into tartar, which is loaded with bacteria that could cause all sorts of dental problems starting with gums disease and decay, and eventually could lead to tooth loss. Not only that, it is also virtually impossible to remove tartar with brushing and flossing, and you would need a visit to your dentist soon.
  • Uncleaned food particles between the teeth are quickly fermented by bacteria, and the output of that fermentation process is a horrible smell. Neglecting flossing is probably the most important cause of bad breath, along with improper tongue cleaning.
  • Not only does not flossing affect your oral health, it affects your general health as well. Studies have shown how periodontal disease is linked to a variety of health issues. The link is well established with eye problems and joint problems, and is quite heavily linked with diabetes as well. But the most important issue here is your heart. Periodontal disease may be one of the causes of heart problems such as heart attacks and infective endocarditis. That is because the area around the tooth (AKA the periodontal area) has a very rich blood supply, and is considered a highway to the heart, so the bacteria in these regions find their way to the heart fairly quickly, and life threatening problems could ensue. So in other words, flossing is good for your heart !!!
  • The most unfortunate consequence of not flossing is unfortunately teeth loss, which as we explained before is not as easy as it sounds. Not only is the process of your teeth getting eaten away by decay, or the bone being degraded so that the teeth become mobile extremely painful, and the extraction process at the hands of the dentist quite hard, but teeth loss could cause a huge variety of problems in the future as well, examples of these are:
  • Teeth drifting:
    Our teeth are designed in such a way that they contact each other slightly, which allows the floss to pass easily between the teeth, while maintaining the position of the teeth fixed. When a tooth is lost, this contact disappears, and as a result, the teeth begin tilting and drifting away from their original position, so much so that if you decide later on to replace the lost tooth, you would need extremely heavy treatment or even braces to correct their position.
  • Eating efficiency:
    Each tooth we have is designed for a specific purpose in the eating and chewing cycle, and shaped to do that specific purpose. When you lose one tooth, you disrupt that cycle, and as a result you are not eating as efficiently as you should, even though you may well not feel any different. By time, the improperly chewed food could lead to stomach problems and indigestion as well.
  • Speech Defect:
    Our teeth are so important in phonetics ( that is the structure of speech). A missing tooth would mean that one of your phonetic instruments is lost, and as a result, speech would be significantly impaired.
  • Appearance change:
    You might notice this with the elderly, or people who neglect their teeth so much that all of their teeth were lost. The classic “sunken lips and cheek” appearance that is characteristic to people without teeth is well known, and is quite difficult to repair even with dentures.
  • The Dilemma of Teeth replacement:
    While a large variety of options are available to replace missing teeth, nothing resembles the feel and comfort of natural teeth. Dentures are very easy to make but quite uncomfortable, bridges are very comfortable but quite damaging to the remaining teeth and gums, and could be very hard to clean and maintain, and implants are very effective replacement, but require surgery and are unbelievably expensive, so isn’t it better to try and maintain your natural teeth as much as you can?

So after learning how important is flossing, you might ask yourself “can flossing replace brushing? ”

The hard truth is .. one could not be effective without the other, and neither could do the other’s job. Brushing is responsible for cleaning the visible surfaces of teeth, while flossing can only clean the invisible surfaces between the teeth, so do not think that you can discard one and keep the other.

And so, the next time you are asked the question of why flossing is so important, you are now informed enough to answer.

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