5 benefits of flossing regularly
A moderate amount of research suggests that flossing can help prevent tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease. It could also help prevent bad breath and heart problems.
As much as we wish this was about the dance craze of 2017, it’s not that type of floss. We are talking about the original type – for your teeth.
Yes, there has been a lot of debate in recent years about the general effectiveness of flossing for overall dental health. And let’s face it: if we don’t have to do something, we probably won’t do it as often. Should we then throw this activity in the trash?
Of course, if you ask a dentist, based on anecdotal evidence only, they will tell you to keep going. So we fought tooth and nail to get to the root of the research and uncover the real benefits of flossing (#SorryNotSorry for puns 🦷).
1. Reduces plaque
Plaque is a translucent, sticky film that builds up on your teeth and gums. When you eat starchy or sugary foods and drinks, bacteria in your mouth release acids to break down carbohydrates. If you don’t brush or floss your teeth, the bacteria, acids, and carbohydrates continue to do their job, eventually leaving behind a filmic residue.
The plaque can then release even more acids which damage your tooth enamel and eventually cause cavities (i.e. holes in the teeth).
If you don’t go to town to clean your mouth, plaque can also harden into tartar, which builds up along the gum line. According to American Dental Association (ADA)as tartar develops, your risk of getting gum disease also increases.
Even if you think the research is suspect, it makes sense that brushing and flossing will help remove this buildup. And, along with interdental cleaners (tools that clean between your teeth) and special tools available to your dentist, these are the best methods we have for getting rid of them.
2. Reduces Cavity Risk
From a simple cause and effect perspective, the more plaque you have, the higher your risk of cavities. And so far the ADA agrees that the best way to remove this plaque from your teeth and gums is through brushing, flossing and interdental appliances.
Flossing between your teeth can remove hidden food particles and plaque buildup that your toothbrush can’t reach, reducing your risk of cavities. While we need more research to know *exactly* how effective flossing is, it looks pretty promising so far.
3. May Help Prevent Gum Disease
Eventually, dental caries can also lead to sore and bleeding gums; pain when chewing; and even tooth loss – all hallmarks of gum disease.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 50% of people over the age of 30 in the United States have some form of gum disease, aka periodontal disease. (yuck!)
In a study 2017 In nearly 9,700 adults, the researchers concluded that flossing is associated with a “modestly lower prevalence” of periodontitis, the most severe form of gum disease. Those who flossed at least once a week had a 17% lower risk of periodontitis than those who flossed less often.
Although the CDC and ADA recommend flossing at least once a day to prevent gum disease, it seems even less frequent flossing might help.
4. Helps with bad breath
Forget about mint breath – instead, floss before your big date. If you want to get rid of halitosis, there’s some evidence that flossing might help.
According to a research report 2013good oral health, including flossing, is “very important” to prevent bad breath.
Basically, even if you brush your teeth regularly, bacteria can build up between your teeth. And that buildup can lead to serious odors if you don’t get rid of it. This is where flossing comes in.
Warning: researchers also recommend using an interdental brush or sometimes using a tongue scraper to prevent bad breath.
5. Could Benefit Your Heart Health
Flossing Could Help Your… Heart? There’s a lot of research to support the link between oral health and heart health, so this theory isn’t as wild as it sounds.
In a big study 2020 out of more than 160,000 people, those who followed a strict oral hygiene routine over a period of about 10.5 years had a reduced risk of heart problems such as irregular heartbeats and heart failure.
A balance sheet 2010 also found a strong link between gum disease and heart disease in general – but of course that doesn’t necessarily mean that gum disease was the cause. It could be that those who take better care of their teeth are also more likely to take care of their overall health, for example.
However, some dentists say that gum disease bacteria in your mouth can travel through your bloodstream and into your heart, affecting both areas.
Again, we can’t be sure of the connection just yet, but it might be worth taking a few minutes to brush and floss, just in case it hurts your stomach. and your smile favors.
You may remember the great flossing debate of the 2010s, when a balance sheet 2011 who supposedly debunked the effectiveness of flossing basically broke the internet (and the hearts of many dentists).
Based on 12 randomized controlled trials, the researchers said they did not find enough evidence to support the idea that flossing could reduce plaque after 1 to 3 months. This eventually led to headlines like “Flossing Doesn’t Actually Work” and “Throw The Floss Out!”
But don’t throw away your Oral-B just yet.
According to a 2019 review, the use of dental floss or interdental appliances in addition to regular tooth brushing could certainly reduce the risk of plaque and gingivitis more than just brushing. While the certainty of the evidence is still rated as ‘low to very low’, the outlook is better than before.
According to National Institutes of HealthThe problem isn’t that flossing doesn’t work – it’s that long-term, large-scale, highly controlled studies of flossing have been quite limited so far.
In the meantime, as we mentioned earlier, there is some evidence that not flossing regularly could lead to problems such as:
- gum disease
- possibly serious problems such as tooth loss (as a result of gum disease)