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Is Flossing Really That Important? Pt 1

It’s the tale as old as time. Your dentist asks you how much you floss and you give him an exaggerated answer that’s more along the lines of how much you intend to floss. He, of course, knows exactly how much you don’t floss and kindly tells you that you need to floss more. And like a scolded child, you hang your head and agree because you know that your flossing game has been lacking at best. And yet, agreeing to his instructions proves to be easier said than done. The busyness of life catches up with you and the feeble effort given to starting a daily flossing regimen is all but exhausted by day three. Unfortunately, his professional advice seems to have gone in one ear and out the other.

If this sounds like you, then get in line, because you’re far from alone. The cold, hard facts of the matter are that most Americans struggle to floss daily. For some reason, flossing is not seen as valuable to us as brushing and thus, most of us don’t do it regularly or worse, don’t do it at all. According to a recent study conducted by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, (NHANES), most Americans fall into one of three categories when it comes to flossing:

  • Those who floss daily
  • Those who never floss
  • Those who are somewhere in between

NHANES reports that around 30% of Americans say that they floss daily, while 37% admit to less than daily flossing. This leaves the remaining 33% of Americans admitting to never flossing. Let that sink in for a moment; one-third of the inhabitants of our nation never floss their teeth. And two-thirds of Americans don’t floss enough. Looking more specifically at these findings, we see a few more interesting facts about Americans’ flossing habits.

  • The percentage of men who admit to never flossing is higher than the percentage of women who never floss.
  • People seventy-five and older are far more likely to never floss
  • Low-income participants are far more likely to never floss than those in higher tax brackets.

So, we can see that our laziness with flossing is a pretty widespread problem among Americans. We believe that one of the biggest reasons for this is ignorance. If people realized the teeth problems and dental bills that they could avoid down the road, they would surely change their non-flossing ways. But like with so many other life lessons, hindsight is 20/20 and we can’t change the decisions we’ve made in the past. But there is never a bad time to start flossing. Let’s talk about some of the reasons that daily flossing is vital to your dental health. Here are a few dangerous side-effects to not flossing.

Bleeding Gums

Gum tissue that is healthy and taken-care-of doesn’t bleed. People who experience bleeding gums are putting themselves in danger of getting gingivitis, gum inflammation caused by a buildup of plaque on the teeth. This gum disease that is characterized by bright red or bleeding gums, affects many people who don’t even realize that they have it. If you believe that you might have gingivitis, call your Boulder dentist and schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

When gingivitis goes untreated, it will eventually turn into a serious gum disease called periodontitis. As gums inflame, they begin to pull away from teeth which creates pouches in which bacteria continues to build up. When a person is dealing with periodontitis, they might experience dental pain, sensitivity, sores, and even a loss of teeth. The key idea here is to catch gingivitis before it turns into periodontitis. For this reason, it’s important to floss daily.

This is just one of the many reasons for flossing regularly. In part two of this blog series, we’ll discuss the dangers of tartar buildup, permanent tooth loss, halitosis, problems during pregnancy, and cavities. This list is, of course, not exhaustive. There are a number of reasons for you to floss regularly.

If you’re needing some dental advice, looking for a great dentist, or are new to the Boulder area, contact our offices now. We’d love to talk with you about effective and practical ways for you to improve your dental health. Contact us now!

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