I know flossing your teeth is annoying, but it is an integral part of your overall health. Flossing regularly not only helps the goings-on in your mouth, but throughout your entire body. Which is also why it is so important to visit your dentist twice a year.
Your mouth is the gateway to your body. There are many bad bacteria entering your body and the mouth is a great place to stop them. Brushing alone cannot remove all of these bacteria, which can be hidden in dental plaque. This plaque is a soft and white accumulation of micro-organisms. It contains about 400 different species of bacteria, and billions of individual germs in each milligram of plaque. They can be damaging to both your teeth, gums and potentially other areas of your body.
Flossing is one of the most important things you can do for your health because it can help with the following:
preventing tooth decay - only flossing can remove the plaque that is hiding between your teeth. Also it's this bacteria along with sugar that cause cavities.
preventing gum disease - an accumulation of plaque around your gums and teeth can cause gingivitis, which is inflammation of the gums.
helping against tartar buildup - tartar is dental plaque that has become hard from the saliva’s calcifying action. Flossing and brushing can slow down the accumulation of tartar, but does not actually remove it. During your semi-annual dentist visits your dentist removes tartar on your teeth.
helping to prevent halitosis - dental plaque is one of the causes of halitosis, and if it’s left between your teeth, it will generate a bad smell in your mouth. Bad breath can also be caused by gum disease and tooth decay which are also primarily caused by plaque.
reducing the risk of heart disease - as discussed earlier, the mouth is the gateway for harmful bacteria that may eventually reach the body organs, including cardiac tissue. Dental plaque, which contains dangerous bacteria, must be therefore eliminated to prevent those micro-organisms to reach the heart through the blood stream and cause heart disease complications.
reduce complications of diabetes - diabetics can have their condition complicated by gum disease. Diabetics usually have a weaker immune system and take more time to fight inflammations and infections, including the ones that start in the mouth
What is the best way to floss? Below is from the American Dental Hygienists' Association website:
Wind 18" of floss around middle fingers of each hand. Pinch floss between thumbs and index fingers, leaving a 1"- 2" length in between. Use thumbs to direct floss between upper teeth.
Keep a 1" - 2" length of floss taut between fingers. Use index fingers to guide floss between contacts of the lower teeth.
Gently guide floss between the teeth by using a zig-zag motion. DO NOT SNAP FLOSS BETWEEN YOUR TEETH. Contour floss around the side of the tooth.
Slide floss up and down against the tooth surface and under the gumline. Floss each tooth thoroughly with a clean section of floss.
--Illustrations adapted by and used courtesy of the John O. Butler Company--
Taking good care of your teeth is a great way to take care of yourself. With my family history of heart issues flossing is even more important. I plan on taking all of my teeth with me and flossing is going to help me and my teeth get there. I floss once and sometimes twice a day. My dentist says I have strong teeth and healthy gums. If you haven't yet today pick up some dental floss and reacquaint yourself with your teeth. You'll feel better in more ways than one and you'll have better dentist visits.
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About the reviewer
Clay Miller (Clay_Miller)
Graphic designer/illustrator and owner of Miller Creative Designs, LLC who on Lunch.com likes to shareinsight on Greenand health insight, ideas and other tidbits.Creator/writer of Ways2GoGreen .com& … more
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It is important to floss before brushing teeth and to floss at least once a day. Tooth brushing will not clean food that is packed between teeth. This 'food packing' can lead to unhealthy teeth and gums. Bacteria grow in this 'packed food' between teeth. These bacteria cause the surface of teeth (enamel) to break down. Then the teeth and gums and sometimes even the jaw can become seriously diseased.
Dental floss can do most things that a toothpick can do but dental floss is much thinner than a toothpick and can thus get to places that most toothpicks cannot reach. So floss presumably does a better job at getting bits of food out from between the teeth, relieving discomfort and pain quicker.
When a person first starts flossing, bleeding can happen. This is normal and happens because teeth and gums that are not flossed are less healthy. It will stop as the teeth and gums get healthier with flossing.