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Yes, Flossing Really is THAT Important

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When you go for your regular appointment for dental cleaning and a check-up, you're often asked questions about your oral health care habits. What toothpaste do you use? Do you brush your teeth twice a day? How often do you floss? Answering that last question makes many of us uncomfortable. We all know that we're supposed to floss. We also know that we're not getting the most out of our health and dental insurance benefits if we don't follow the dentist's care instructions between visits. Perhaps we'd all be a little more apt to floss when we're supposed to if we better understood why flossing is so important.

Why Flossing is Important

It’s easy to understand the value of dental floss when you are feeling the irritation of a piece of food stuck between your teeth. It’s true, flossing is great for removing debris, but it does so much more! Flossing also helps to remove plaque from the tight spaces between teeth where the bristles of a toothbrush simply can’t reach. This is the only opportunity to clean that intra-dental space.

When you don’t floss regularly, plaque starts to creep under the gum line where it lays the foundation for a serious condition called periodontitis. This gum disease can cause inflammation which affects the bones and ligaments that hold your teeth in place. Once those are loosened beyond repair, they can no longer hold on to your tooth.

When you’re faced with the prospect of replacing missing or damaged teeth, the dentist’s suggestion to keep up with flossing suddenly seems like a really good idea!

Other Health Conditions

In case you think that flossing is only a good idea to protect your vanity, you should know that there are other, much more serious health conditions that are associated with poor oral health. Your oral health is connected to your overall health on a deep level. The links between oral health and cardiovascular conditions, lung infections, and diabetes are well established.

Does this mean that not flossing will cause a heart attack or diabetes? No. But skipping that important oral health care step will certainly not help those who are already in treatment for a serious health condition!

Alternatives to Dental Floss

If you have trouble flossing because of a physical condition, for example difficulty holding and positioning floss because of joint pain, there are many alternatives available on the market today. For example, some patients find dental flossers with a firm handle easier to use than traditional string floss.

Your dentist can make recommendations based on your specific needs at your next appointment, but that can only happen if you’re open about your flossing habits.

A good oral health routine includes eating well, brushing well, and flossing every day. Make sure you’re getting the most out of your health and dental insurance benefits by following your dentist’s recommendations for dental care between visits. You will enjoy a whiter smile AND better health as a reward for your efforts!

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