Flossing: It’s more important than you think
The health of your mouth is vital to your overall health and wellbeing. The mouth-body connection has been well-documented, with a growing number of studies linking oral disease with various systemic diseases. Yet, oral care continues to be overlooked as an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Particularly flossing is all too often forgotten. It is also far more important than you may realize.
Why a healthy mouth matters
Studies have linked severe periodontal disease with a tenfold increase in the risk of heart attack and a 700 percent increase in the risk of type 2 diabetes. Oral disease is also associated with bad breath, pneumonia, ED (erectile dysfunction), dementia, kidney disease, and more. This is attributed to the chronic, systemic inflammation associated with gum disease. One of the simplest and most effective ways to prevent this is to brush and floss regularly.
Don’t underestimate the power of floss
Plaque is the soft, sticky, bacteria-filled film that clings to teeth. If you brush properly, you remove plaque from about two-thirds of the teeth’s surfaces. If you floss properly, you clean the remaining surfaces. What happens if you skip it? In as little as a day plaque begins transforming into tartar, which is a hard substance that can’t be removed easily with brushing and flossing. It usually remains where it is until your next hygienist cleaning. Meanwhile, it gives bacteria an opportunity to erode tooth enamel and invade gum tissue, leading to cavities and periodontal disease.
Despite the risks, an alarming number of Australians routinely neglect oral hygiene. According to the Australian Dental Association:
- Every year, 11 million newly decayed teeth develop.
- Nearly 60 percent of Australians say that they expect to develop tooth decay at some point.
- About 90 percent of oral disease could be avoided with good hygiene and dental care.
- Over 30 percent of Australians report brushing only once a day rather than twice.
- Most survey respondents admitted to flossing less frequently than once a day, or not at all.
- Over 80 percent of Australians rated tooth decay and bad breath as their biggest turnoffs.
Easy and effective flossing technique
Flossing does not need to be a cumbersome task. It can be accomplished efficiently with just a few simple steps:
- Use a piece of floss about 40-45 cm, and wrap the ends around your index fingers.
- Slide floss between teeth, and pull snugly against one tooth in a C – shape.
- Use back-and-forth as well as up-and-down motion to scrub the tooth.
- Pull it snugly against the opposite tooth, and repeat to clean it.
- Repeat this process for each tooth until you have cleaned the “hidden” side of all upper and lower teeth.
It’s never too late to begin great oral hygiene habits. If you already have decay or gum disease, we can help you restore and maintain optimal oral health. Call our Sunbury office at 03 8001 6021 or our Moonee Ponds office at 03 8400 4104 and schedule an appointment.Back to Hygiene Dentistry Page