You may not understand why flossing is important until you’re sitting in that dentist’s chair, wondering where it all went wrong.
You brush twice a day, use good toothpaste, and are meticulous about using mouthwash.
So now, why are you sitting there paying more money for a filling, a root canal, or trying to fix your bad breath problem?
It’s probably because you didn’t floss.
Why Flossing is Important
The truth is that flossing can get to the plaque and food particles in between your teeth and gum line. A place that a simple toothbrush just can’t reach.
Flossing also helps to prevent bad breath and can improve the overall health of your mouth.
In addition to brushing your teeth, using dental floss can stimulate the gums, which can help to keep them healthy!
Does Flossing Whiten Teeth?
Flossing does not directly whiten teeth, but it can help reduce surface stains contributing to that discolored (or down-right yellow) appearance.
Tooth discoloration occurs when plaque builds up on your enamel or the gum line. Plaque is that fuzzy stuff (“teeth sweaters”) that forms on your teeth.
It’s basically a collection of bacteria that forms on the teeth from neglectful brushing and — you guessed it — neglectful flossing.
Plaque is bad news not only because it can make your teeth look less than stellar but because it can lead to tooth decay and gum disease if not removed. Gum disease is an infection of the gums that can lead to tooth loss if left untreated.
Even if you start using more, you may find that your tooth discoloration is beyond an at-home repair. If your dentist can’t fix it with a simple deep tooth cleaning, they might recommend a professional teeth whitening treatment. This can cost up to $450 to $1,000 per treatment.
What Happens if You Don’t Floss: The COST Of Skipping This Step
You know the drill by now. You know you need to floss because:
A. It helps get rid of plaque, and
B. It saves you from spending money on more dental work.
It can lead to many dental health problems, including:
- Tooth Decay: This destroys the tooth enamel and can result in cavities.
- Gum Disease: An infection of the gums that can cause redness, swelling, and bleeding.
- Bad Breath: Food particles left between the teeth can lead to bad breath.
- Tooth Discoloration: Plaque and food particles not removed from the teeth can lead to a yellow or discolored appearance.
By not flossing correctly to get rid of all plaque, here’s how much you might end up spending:
- Filling: $200-$600
- Periodontal Treatment: $100-$3,000
- Teeth Whitening: $300-$800
- Root Canal: $1,300-$1,600
- Gum Graft: $1,000-$3,000
- Tooth Extraction: $75-$200
Overall, flossing regularly as part of a daily oral hygiene routine helps prevent these problems (and keeps money in your pocket).
More Benefits To Flossing
Besides saving you dollars, there are many benefits to flossing regularly as part of a daily oral hygiene routine:
- Helps to prevent bad breath: Food particles not removed from between the teeth can lead to bad breath(halitosis). By removing these particles with floss, you’ll improve breath freshness.
- Protects against heart disease: There is evidence to suggest that lack of flossing may be linked to an increased risk of heart disease. A review of several studies by the NCBI found that flossing may help to reduce the risk of heart disease by controlling inflammation in the mouth and preventing the buildup of bacteria and plaque in the arteries.
- Reducing the risk of gum disease: Flossing helps remove plaque and food particles between the teeth, reducing the risk of gum disease. According to NCBI, a review of 12 studies found that “flossing in addition to toothbrushing reduces gingivitis compared to toothbrushing alone.”
Now that you know why flossing is important, here are answers to the other questions you probably have:
- How To Floss Properly, How Often, and Flossing Alternatives
- WaterPik Flossing: Is It Better Than Regular Floss?
- When To Use Floss Picks