You've heard it a thousand times from your parents, your dentist, and hell, your grandmother: "Floss your teeth." I have to be honest with you, I am not the greatest flosser. I try, I really do try. But I never seem to be motivated enough to floss twice daily. It just seems a little excessive to me. Or at least it did. After researching the topic and finding out all of the weird things that happen when you don't floss every day... I'm headed to the store to purchase an excess of floss, because as it turns out, flossing every day is not excessive, and it's absolutely something you should be doing.
Whether you're a lackadaisical flosser like me, or someone who thinks their aggressive brushing style should be enough to dislodge whatever's stuck between their teeth, it's time to read up, read on, and get ready to change your routine. Because it turns out, flossing daily is way more serious that you could've ever imagined, and can help you prevent some major health problems from popping up down the line. Just like the rest of your health, beyond the way your teeth look, is how healthy your mouth really is. So break out the floss, and get ready to step up your flossing routine.
1. Your Gums Will Start Bleeding More
If you've been slacking on flossing, chances are when you get back into the habit, your gums will be bleeding. But don't stop! Instead of laying off of your tender gums, keep at it. According to the United Kingdom's National Health Service, the bleeding will subside as your gums get healthier.
2. Your Breath Will Turn Sour
Business Insider reported that poor oral hygiene, and flossing in particular, can be a serious source of halitosis. Food particles that linger in between your pearly whites after you snack, or sit down for a meal, start to decompose and stink when you don't floss them out. The less you floss, the more potential you have to acquire bad breath.
3. Cavities Will Move In
Without floss, tooth decay becomes a serious issue, according to a Live Science interview with Caren Barnes, a professor of dental hygiene at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. The purpose of flossing and brushing is to remove plaque buildup from your teeth, and according to Barnes, brushing your teeth isn't enough. "Because the spaces between teeth are usually so small, toothbrush bristles cannot reach in between the two tooth surfaces," Barnes said. So think twice before you bail on the flossing portion of your evening.
4. You May Get Gum Disease
If your gums bleed, and bleed often, you may be facing gum disease. Gingivitis, according to Business Insider, makes gums swollen, red, and easy-bleeders. This is due in part to the bacteria and plaque that builds up between your teeth and gums when you don't floss.
5. Your Chances Of Disease Go Up
According to a Live Science interview with Dr. Walter Bretz, professor of cariology and comprehensive care at the New York University College of Dentistry, gum disease isn't the only disease that can appear when you stop flossing. Bretz said that there's good evidence that links periodontal disease to systemic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, pneumonia, and more. If that's not a reason to start flossing daily, what is?
6. Your Chances Of Dementia Go Up
Business Insider went on to report that dementia was another possible side effect of a lack of flossing. Citing a long-term study of a Laguna Hills retirement community, the link between poor dental health and dementia showed that residents who reported not brushing and flossing their teeth daily had a 22 to 65 percent greater risk of dementia than those who brushed their teeth three times daily.
7. Your Dentist Will Know
Yes, your dentist will know. And flossing once or twice before your checkup won't help you. According to AskTheDentist.com, it takes about a week of solid flossing to make your gums stop bleeding when they're flossed or cleaned. Do yourself a favor and floss regularly to avoid the pre-appointment panic.
8. You Could Have Pregnancy Complications
It's especially important for pregnant women to take care of their teeth, according to Business Insider. When pregnant women have serious dental problems, their infants are more likely to develop cavities. Set your baby up for success by taking care of your own teeth.
9. Your Teeth Might Fall Out
Last, but certainly not least, your teeth can quite literally fall out if you neglect the floss for too long. In a study done in Norway, the BBC reported that teeth surrounded by inflamed gums were 46 times more likely to be lost by the end of the study than the teeth that were surrounded by healthier gums. Um, yeah. I'll be flossing excessively now, thanks.