A former flossing procrastinator turn floss advocate; why to floss, how to floss, and the dangers of not flossing.
Specks of food on the bathroom mirror, the gums are bleeding and it hurts, those dang molars are hard to get to, your hands can’t fit in your mouth, the list goes on. Tell me I didn’t list at least one reason why you don’t floss.
Here’s a little note: people go to college for years to learn how to prevent, diagnose, and treat people who don’t floss! Yes, they are called dental hygienists and dentists.
Imagine showering but never once washing behind your ears, under your armpits, in between your toes, and even, ahem, the private areas. Kinda gross, right? That’s what it’s like when you don’t floss. Your toothbrush cannot get in between each tooth and under the gum line to get the food that has collected there. Now think about how long that food stays between your teeth before it can naturally be dissolved. You don’t know how long it will take because you don’t even know that there is food in your teeth. But there is!
I bet you are thinking that flossing does not apply to you because you go to the dentist every six months and have been since you can remember and you cannot recall the last time that you got a cavity. I know this excuse because my husband uses it every day. And he’s right; he goes to the dentist every six months for a cleaning and hasn’t had a cavity since high school.
But look back at those cleanings that you received. Was the hygienist having a hard time getting the floss between your teeth? Did you have bleeding gums? Did she overload your goodie bag with floss samples followed by a stern reminder that you won’t be so lucky at the next cleaning? Yeah… that’s because while right now your gums feel fine they can take a drastic turn.
A very painful and expensive alternative to daily flossing is a deep cleaning. Yay! Doesn’t that sound like fun!? Hardly. A deep cleaning can be extremely invasive and in some cases down-right uncomfortable. A deep cleaning is something that has to be done because there is plaque underneath the gum line. Cases range from small to severe but either way the hygienist scrapes the plaque off the root of tooth. Ouch. I think I’ll pass.
You must choose to jump in with both feet and commit to flossing. While the dentist recommends twice a day most people just can’t do it. So, I propose that if you can only do it once a day then you must do it at night. That way your teeth are clean when you go to bed and bacteria doesn’t have a chance to grow when you are sleeping with gunk in between your teeth.
Flossing for me was painful at first and if I go a week without flossing my gums will be a little sore after I floss again. But I have the knowledge of what can happen to my teeth and pocketbook if I choose not to floss and really I’d rather save myself the trouble and just floss. I leave floss all over the house, on my nightstand, on the coffee table, by the computer, and I use it whenever I’m lounging around. I suggest you follow this advice for TEETH’s sake!