News reports have recently questioned the importance of flossing, but daily flossing is the single most important factor in preventing gum (periodontal) disease. Daily flossing removes plaque and bacteria that brushing leaves behind. Since 40% of a tooth’s surface meets up with another tooth, neglecting to clean these surfaces promotes tooth decay, gum disease and gingivitis.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) one out of two American adults aged 30 and over has gum disease. Ongoing research continues to confirm the importance of treating gum disease in people with one or more of the following conditions: diabetes, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and pregnancy.
Flossing every 24 hours is just as important as brushing because it helps remove the plaque and debris that adhere to teeth and gums between the teeth. Flossing also helps polish the tooth’s surface and control bad breath. Anecdotally, dentists and hygienists would say that they can tell by looking in a patient’s mouth whether or not they floss, based on the condition of their gum tissue.
Still not convinced? Give this a try. Brush your teeth like you normally would, then floss. As you floss, pay attention to the food, plaque and debris that you are removing. You will likely find that brushing leaves behind a great deal of material – all of which you don’t want hanging around in and around your teeth!
Remember – you don’t have to floss all of your teeth – just the ones you want to keep!