The truth about flossing

The truth about flossing

Are you flossing every day?

That’s what we are recommended to do by our dentists all the time, but how many of us actually do?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a survey that asked about flossing habits of American citizens. Based on the findings, it is estimated that less than 30% of us floss daily, with women aged 31-44 being the most likely to floss.

Dr. Amy Martin, a dental specialist at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago, explains that it is very obvious when patients are not flossing regularly.

“In a non or infrequent flosser, the gums appear redder, bleed easily when manipulated and are what we call “boggy” or “spongy” when touched. These are all signs of inflammation, typically caused by the presence of bacteria sitting around the teeth and gums for too long,” says Dr. Martin.

Flossing is important in order to keep our teeth and gums healthy and prevent bacteria from building up in our mouths. This bacteria can lead to further oral hygiene issues, such as cavities, tooth decay and gum disease.

Not only is flossing important, but how you floss should be considered, too.

“Proper flossing involves gently inserting the floss between the teeth, followed by curving the floss around the base of each tooth in a C shape and gently moving it up and down a few times to remove debris. Never snap the floss into place between teeth, as this can irritate or damage the gums and cause them to bleed,” explains Dr. Martin.

Flossing should be a part of everyone’s daily routine. Dr. Martin adds that it is helpful to floss before bed so you can remove all the built-up plague from throughout the day.

If you have questions about flossing, consult your local dentist.

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5 Comments

  1. Flossing, just as dental teeth cleaning (don’t do it!), is not quite straight forward. It carries a serious risk with it. If a person is going to floss, they better do it regularly, otherwise, irregular flossing will, in majority of cases, result in bacteria entering the bloodstream. As it’s known, there are tens to hundreds of different bacterial species in person’s mouth. Many of these bacteria can turn pathogenic. Releasing these bacteria into the bloodstream can result in mild to severe bacteremia and if untreated can lead to serious, and sometimes asymptomatic, complications even years later. People with underlying heart conditions are at the highest risk of developing dental-related complications caused by unintentional release of oral bacteria into the bloodstream. Unfortunately, many of these people are unaware of their heart condition. One of the red flags of flossing is blood. If you avoid bleeding gums, flossing can be beneficial, but beware if you see blood in saliva.

  2. Daily flossing gang!!

  3. Twice a day for me! In the car at stop lights on the way to work and again on the way home! No bleeding gums here!

  4. I tell my kids to floss the teeth they want to keep. Easy.

  5. my sister and i recently had a flossing debate…who flosses first and who brushes first? just curious!

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About the Author

Amy Levato
Amy Levato

Amy Levato, health enews contributor, is a public affairs and marketing intern at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. She is a senior pursuing a degree in marketing at DePaul University. When she isn't interning, she enjoys interior design, dancing and spending time with her family and friends.

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