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The Importance of Being Earnest… About Flossing Your Teeth! Why a little string can be such a great thing

Let’s be honest for a moment, shall we?  We’ve all been there, sitting in the chair of terror, looking at the bright lights – oh sure, they have TV’s and music and all kinds of things to distract you, but that drill still goes whirrrrrrrrr,whirrrrrrrr and sends chills down the backs of the people.  Especially the unflossed.
Waiting for the question, “How many times a day do you floss?” can be uncomfortable for some of us (the ones who don’t floss, or at least not regularly!)
Did you ever wonder if maybe you actually did floss, you wouldn’t find a trip to the dentist so hard to face?
Did you ever wonder if you flossed regularly, maybe a trip to the doctor would give you a better bill of health, too?
Flossing has many benefits, some that are obvious to most of us, but some that are probably going to be big news to some of you.
Top Reasons To Floss Your Teeth… Every Day!
  • Beat Bad Breath. I started with this one because it is a benefit most of us want (as do the people around us) and is an easy motivator.  Flossing your teeth gets rid of the gunk (OK, it is technically called plaque, but you flossing slackers need a bit of a gross out to motivate) between your teeth that harbor a lot of stinky badness.
  • Keep Plaque at Bay.  Plaque is the soft stuff that makes your teeth feel furry in between brushings.  While it is soft, it is easy to remove from your teeth, but if it hardens, it turns to something called tartar.  If the teeth cleaning you dread involves a lot of chipping with a pick, you have tartar.  It is damaging and can lead to gum disease.  The only way to get the plaque between your teeth is with dental floss.
  • Say “NO!” To Gum Disease.  Gum disease is bad news.  When your teeth are not kept sparkling clean, your gums can become inflamed and infected, creates pockets of pus, and can weaken and infect the bone holding your teeth.  It is painful to have, painful and expensive to treat, and causes more of that bad breath.  It can lead to root canals, and can even cause you to lose some of your pearly whites forever.  And I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the Tooth Fairy doesn’t make appearances for adults.  Flossing gets down between teeth to the gum level and is a huge factor in preventing gum disease, and be sure you gently brush your gums, too.
  • Shorten Time at the Dentist.  Flossing your teeth is a big step in shortening the amount of time you spend having your teeth cleaned, and can keep you from having other problems that require more and longer visits.  That’s a good enough reason to spend 2 minutes a day flossing in the morning and at night!
  • Heart Health and Beyond.  You thought we were talking about teeth?  We are.  When your teeth build up bacteria, it gets into your blood stream and is taken through your heart and other organs like your kidneys and liver.  The simple act of diligent brushing and flossing can keep that bacteria under control.  If not?  You may be a candidate for heart disease, kidney disease, and even a stroke, just because of your dental health.  Is it worth that risk?
  • Diabetes.  If you suffer from diabetes, your oral health might complicate things if you don’t floss regularly.  Diabetics in general don’t heal from wounds and infections as easily, so if your teeth and gums get infected, it can be a longer road back to a healthy mouth.
 So head off to the store right now and find some floss you like – ask your dentist if there is a recommended type, but it is probably more important that you just do it than with what kind.
It comes in flavors, waxed and unwaxed, a rounded string and a flat tape.  You can even get little sticks with a rigid bridge of floss, to make it as easy as possible (no more wrapping it around your fingers) and these are an excellent choice for getting kids started on flossing.
A few minutes a day, and you’ll get a shiny gold star from the dentist on your next visit – and a shiny bright, healthy smile all year long!