Many people find flossing tedious and try to avoid it. But it should be an integral part of your oral care routine because it is the most effective method of reducing the need for a dentist and preventing disease. The purpose of both brushing and flossing is to reduce the millions of bacteria which inhabit our mouths, feeding on food particles left on our teeth. They produce acid, which eats into tooth enamel creating cavities. If this wasn’t bad enough, the bacteria also pour out volatile sulfur compounds creating embarrassing bad breath.
Over time when you eat and drink, a buildup of bacteria occurs within a mesh of mucus and debris, called plaque. Regular brushing removes the plaque and the bacteria plaque contains. Unfortunately, many people only brush, forgetting that flossing is a key component to any good oral hygiene program.
If you do not floss and allow plaque to remain in between teeth it collects at the gum line and eventually hardens into a substance known as tartar. Unlike plaque which can be easily removed by brushing, tartar can only be removed by your dentist.
Dentists recommend that you floss daily. Flossing every day will dislodge pesky food particles and will help prevent plaque buildup in places your toothbrush can’t reach.
What Happens If I Don’t Floss?
By choosing not to floss, you may run the risk of developing not just a few cavities but also diseases that have a bigger impact on your overall health. To help you understand the risks of not flossing, here is a compilation of the terrifying things that could affect your mouth and wellbeing.
If your gums bleed when you brush, floss or eat, then there is a strong chance that you may have gum diseases like, gingivitis or periodontitis. Healthy gum tissue does not bleed. If you have gum disease, the bacteria from swollen or bleeding gums can travel through the bloodstream, potentially worsening or causing other types of health problems. Gum disease may be a risk factor for a number of serious health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, pneumonia, diabetes and other respiratory disease.
When plaque accumulates and is not removed from teeth, it can harden and turn into tartar. Unlike plaque, which can be tamed by brushing and flossing, tartar is a very hard substance that can only be removed by a dental professional because tartar buildup bonds strongly to enamel.
Neglecting to floss may be the culprit for bad breath that you can’t seem to get rid of. Halitosis or bad breath is caused by sulphur-producing bacteria that normally live on the surface of the tongue and in the throat. Sometimes, these bacteria start to break down proteins at a very high rate and odorous volatile sulphur compounds are released from the back of the tongue and throat. It can have a major impact on a person, even cause a loss of confidence and self-esteem
Premature Tooth Loss
Gum disease causes the gums to pull away from the teeth, leaving pockets of space for bacteria to grow and weaken the tooth structure. This leads to premature tooth loss. Without proper flossing, dangerous types of bacteria build up within tartar, which produce toxins that irritate and inflame the gums. They invade not only the gums but also the bones and the structures supporting the teeth. This can lead to bone loss, loose teeth, and teeth which fall out.
Problems during Pregnancy
Controlling bacteria in the mouth is important during pregnancy. Bacteria in the mouth can be absorbed into the blood stream of the mother and baby, resulting in low birth weight babies. PLBW babies have a higher risk of developing complications like asthma, ear infections, birth abnormalities and behavioral difficulties.
If you want a shiny, white smile then skipping the floss is not a good idea. Removing the buildup between the teeth helps your smile appear whiter and cleaner, which improves your appearance and confidence too. For an attractive smile regular flossing is necessary.
Harmful bacteria in the mouth will eventually lead to tooth decay (cavities). When the plaque is allowed to build up, the acid can begin to break down the outer surface of your tooth and can eventually enter creating holes or ‘cavities’, damaging the soft part at the centre of the tooth. Cavities are problematic not just because they require fillings, but because they disrupt the original tooth structure. Once a tooth has a filling or two, it slowly becomes weaker, leading to more necessary dental work down the road. If left untreated, tooth decay can lead to further problems such gum disease or dental abscesses.
You can avoid all this happening to your mouth if you spend just 1-2 minutes flossing every day. If you need help learning how to floss properly, or if you still aren’t convinced that flossing is for you, we hope you will contact our dentists at Arizona Biltmore Dentistry.