Do You Really Need to Floss Your Teeth? | Bracken Ridge Dental

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Do You Really Need to Floss Your Teeth?

You might already brush your teeth twice a day and take care with what you eat, but if you don't floss, parts of every tooth are never being properly cleaned.

If you're someone who only pulls out the floss when you have something stuck between your teeth, here are good reasons why you should consider making it a daily habit.

What do the experts say?

Most dentists and organisations such as the Australian Dental Association (ADA) and international equivalents agree that flossing is an important part of a daily oral care routine.

Some studies have found that whether a person flosses may not make a difference to them developing cavities. However, these limited studies only address one specific dental problem – cavities caused by tooth decay – and not other conditions such as gum disease, which floss can help with significantly.

What can happen if you don't floss?

Flossing should be considered as important as toothbrushing for helping to prevent oral diseases and related problems, not an optional extra. If you don't floss regularly, you may be at higher risk of:

Plaque build-up

Bacteria that builds up on teeth in the form of plaque can cause tooth decay. This may require treatments such as a filling or root canal therapy if it damages of infects a tooth.

Toothbrushing can remove most sticky plaque, but your toothbrush can't reach all parts of your mouth. Flossing can reach the spaces between your teeth to remove plaque before it hardens into calculus (tartar), which can only be removed through professional cleaning and scaling by a dentist or hygienist.

Gum disease

If plaque builds up around the gum line, it can irritate or infect the teeth, leading to gingivitis (early gum disease). You may have gingivitis if your gums are red, sore, swollen or bleed when you brush and floss.

If gingivitis isn't treated, it can develop into periodontitis. This is a more serious form of gum disease that can lead to receding gums, tooth loss and infections, and it may require gum surgery to remove.

Related health problems

Flossing doesn't only protect your oral health, but may also have wider health benefits. There is growing evidence linking gum disease to a higher risk of developing a number of serious health conditions throughout the body. These include diabetes, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis and stroke, among others.

Bad breath

Flossing helps to reduce bad breath, both by removing bacteria and food that may be trapped between your teeth. Bad breath is also a common sign of gum disease and other oral health problems that flossing can help with.

Alternatives to floss

If you find flossing uncomfortable, or it makes your gums bleed, this could be because your mouth isn't used to it. If this discomfort continues, it could indicate an issue such as sensitive teeth or gum disease that your dentist can help with.

Your dentist can also discuss other options for cleaning between your teeth if you find traditional floss uncomfortable or difficult to use. These can include pre-threaded floss holders, interdental brushes and electric water flossers.

Talk to dentists in Bracken Ridge

If you want more oral health advice, or you want to see a dentist near you in Bracken Ridge, call us today on (07) 3261 2405 or book online. Our team will arrange a time for your visit that suits your schedule.