People don’t mind brushing their teeth, even if they don’t brush as often or as consistently as they should.
But for some reason, people really don’t like flossing – only 30% of Americans floss daily and 32% of us never floss.
As dentists, we’re naturally biased in favor of flossing. It may seem inconvenient, but it really doesn’t take as long as you think, and the benefits of flossing make it worth it.
Here’s why you should floss regularly
The Benefits of Floss – Or Why You Should Learn to Love the String
One of the biggest reasons you should floss daily is because flossing helps maintain the health of your teeth.
A lot of food and gunk get trapped in the crevices between your teeth and along the gumline. Brushing alone doesn’t always get rid of it. If you don’t floss, and it stays there, it can degrade your enamel and cause cavities through plaque buildup.
So, one benefit of flossing is that it helps keep plaque from forming, which can cause cavities (and bad breath).
(Plus, the more you floss, the less work your dentist will have to do to clean the plaque from your teeth, which is a win-win for both of us.)
Flossing also protects your gums. Gingivitis is a periodontal disease that can cause inflamed gums that bleed when you brush. If left unchecked, it can lead to more serious conditions like periodontitis.
By flossing, you’re fighting off the bacteria that cause gingivitis. Your gums will be healthier and you’ll be less likely to develop serious problems like periodontitis, which destroys the bone that supports your teeth and leads to teeth loss. (And no one wants that.)
How to Floss More Regularly
It’s important that you make flossing a part of your daily routine.
Don’t worry so much about exactly when you should floss. The important thing is that you do it, and do it at least once a day. If all you do is floss once a day, every day, you’ll be far ahead of the game and will be giving yourself a healthier mouth.
Resolve to floss at the end of the day when you brush your teeth for the last time to make it easy for you to develop the habit. Just tell yourself, “When I brush for the last time, I’m going to floss. Brush, floss. Brush, floss.” Then do it and do it for at least 30 days. That will help you build up that habit.
If you need more help with flossing, such as picking the right way to floss (whether it’s through dental picks, water flossing, or string floss), talk to your dentist.
But above all, floss – it’s important and your mouth will thank you.