Flossing – The Good, The Bad, The Ugly 

FlossingFlossing is something that doesn’t take long to do, is very simple to learn, and uses relatively inexpensive tools, yet only half of Americans surveyed report that they do it daily. Yet, when performed in conjunction with twice-daily brushing and attending regular dental checkups, flossing can make an enormous difference in your overall health.

How significant is flossing? Here’s a quick run-down of the “the good, the bad and the ugly” of why flossing matters.

THE GOOD: The good news about flossing is that if you stick with it, you will remove food debris and bacteria-ridden biofilm from the 40 percent of your teeth surfaces that cannot be reached by a toothbrush. Any time is a great time to start, and if you miss a few days of flossing, simply start again. Two good tips to help make flossing a daily habit include establishing a “cue” (such as a blank sticky note on your bathroom mirror) to remind you it’s time to floss, and to create a clearly defined immediate reward for the activity, such as finding a favorite flavor of loss to use when you do it.

THE BAD: If you’re unable to make flossing a habit (and doing it only the five days before your dental appointment doesn’t count as a habit!), you’re leaving a large portion of your mouth vulnerable to bacteria. Research demonstrates that not flossing can contribute to periodontal disease and tooth decay. Periodontal disease – infections impacting your gums and soft tissues of your mouth – in particular, can influence the course of systemic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and even respiratory tract illnesses.

THE UGLY: Another frightening fact about not flossing is that periodontal disease is often “painless” until it is in its most advanced stages. At that point, it’s possible to not only suffer a lot of pain, but also have to deal with the unattractive symptoms of bone loss, bleeding gums, and loose teeth, which may have to be extracted. Even worse, this risk is not a rare one – more than 65 million adults have some form of gum disease!

“Flossing can be a challenging habit to start and to stick with,” says Dr. Carol Ford, a cosmetic dentist practicing in central Phoenix. “But this habit can radically improve the state of your health, so it is worth it to do it daily!”









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