When it comes to the list of things our Happy Valley dentistry patients prefer to avoid, flossing probably ranks near the top. If you don’t enjoy flossing know that you’re not alone. A Centers for Disease Control survey found that only 31 percent of Americans floss on a daily basis, with 33 percent reporting they don’t floss at all. In fact, a desire to skip flossing is so strong in some people that they would rather do almost anything else.
A recent survey found that 40 percent of respondents would rather engage in some pretty unappealing tasks – such as doing their taxes, waiting in line at the DMV, getting stuck in traffic, and even cleaning their toilet – rather than spend two minutes flossing. This seems like a pretty extreme reaction considering all of the healthy benefits that come from such a simple habit.
By failing to floss daily, you’re allowing gum diseases such as gingivitis – an early form of the disease – and periodontitis – the leading cause of permanent tooth loss in adults – to negatively impact your long-term oral health.
We hear a lot of different reasons patients regarding why they don’t floss. The list of excuses is long. But fortunately, with a little work, they can all be overcome.
“I don’t know how floss right.”
It’s true that many of us don’t correctly floss. However, there are many things we don’t do right without practice – driving, poaching an egg, kissing – but are willing to keep trying until we get it right. Just because your flossing technique needs a little work is no reason to give up the habit entirely.
The correct way to floss requires more than just inserting the thread in-between your teeth and pulling it back and forth. You need to make a point of sliding it on the tooth surface. Each time you pull the floss between two teeth, you have to keep in mind that both teeth need to be cleaned.
To give you a better idea on how to properly floss, here’s a video from the American Dental Association that shows the right technique.
“My gums bleed after I floss.”
If you’ve ignored flossing for most of your adult life, you’re likely to experience a little bleeding after flossing for the first couple of weeks. However, stick with the habit and the bleeding will eventually stop.
Flossing is a physical act. If your gums are a little inflamed from all of the bacteria you’ve allowed to accumulate from not flossing, they will get a little irritated until properly cleaned.
Not flossing because your gum bleed is a Catch-22. Not flossing because your gums bleed all but ensures your gums will bleed if you do floss because the tissue won’t be used to the added attention. But if you consider the increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease you face by failing to floss, picking up the habit now can save you a lot of time and trouble in the future.
“My teeth fit too closely together to floss.”
Some patients do have teeth that fit rather snuggly together, and flossing these teeth can be a chore. Still, there are ways you can deal with the position of your teeth and they are all easily available at your local store.
Waxed floss is designed to easily move between teeth regardless of how close together. These brands also come in a variety of thickness, so you’re certain to find the right floss for you by simply looking.
“I don’t have the time to floss.”
If you have the time to comb your hair, apply makeup, shave, or wash your face you have time to floss. Gum disease and tooth decay can have a serious impact on not only the health of your teeth and gums, but also your overall health as well. Happy Valley dentistry patients that read our blog know that studies have linked poor oral health with a variety of chronic, long-term illnesses that include heart disease, diabetes, dementia, and cancer. By spending just two minutes a day floss you can significantly lower your risk for these and other serious conditions. You can’t make time for that, what can you make time for?