Flossing can be the last on the list of the many things we have to do every day. The truth is that it should be at the top of that list. I can relate, life gets in the way and flossing falls to the wayside, but what most people don’t realize how flossing can affect our overall health as well as our oral health.
All of the bacteria that are left on your teeth by not flossing can enter the bloodstream and can cause health problems, like heart disease and diabetes. I explain it to my patients like this. “If it’s in your mouth it’s in your body”. Meaning that once we swallow those bacteria, we digest it, and then it processes through the body. It has been said that by not flossing you leave almost 35% of the tooth untouched. Your toothbrush alone can only reach so much of the tooth. Flossing is meant to pick up the slack.
Most cavities happen between the teeth because of the lack of flossing. The bacteria and bacteria byproducts (yes, I said bacterial poop) stay on the teeth and starts to eat away the enamel. Once that enamel is weakened, decay starts. Decay only needs a pinhole size opening to decay the teeth to the tooth nerve causing severe pain and the need for Root Canal Therapy or tooth extraction.
So, now that I have your attention about how important it is to floss, how can I help you pick up the habit?
Easy!! Start slow. Try to add 2-3 days a week at first, and then add days until you’re flossing everyday. It doesn’t take long before your mouth feels dirty if you don’t floss.
The ideal time to floss is at night before bed so all the food particles left over from the day’s food and drinks are not sitting on the teeth overnight.But, if we’re being honest here, that is not very easy to do.When you’re tired and ready for bed, flossing is not happening.Here are some my tips to help you start a flossing habit.
- Buy a big bag of flossers, maybe two.
- Dump the candy out of the candy dish and replace it with flossers.Every time you reach for candy, you get a flosser (sneaky, huh?)
- Set some in a dish by where you watch your favorite TV shows. Floss while you’re watching TV.
- Put some by the front door, you can grab one on the way out the door.You can be done flossing by time you make it out of your neighborhood.
The key is to just do it! It really is not that bad and now that you know you can floss at some other time besides bed time, get out and start flossing.