You hate to admit it, but it’s been a while since you’ve flossed. You finally decided to start again one day, but it makes your sensitive gums bleed. However, don’t let this deter you from flossing. Most of the time, when you go a long time without it, it can cause bleeding at first, simply because your gums aren’t used to it. But once you get in the habit of flossing, it provides a whole host of benefits. What are those benefits? Continue reading to find out.
How Can Flossing Help Your Gums?
Did you know that flossing is the best way to take care of your gums? Sliding dental floss between your teeth at least once a day can remove harmful bacteria from those areas. In fact, flossing is the only way to clean two of the five surfaces of your teeth, while brushing takes care of the rest. If you go too long without flossing, bacteria could build up and cause gingivitis, or the first stage of gum disease.
Gingivitis results in red, swollen, tender, or bleeding gums. Usually, regular oral hygiene, including flossing, is enough to return your gums to normal. However, once gingivitis has progressed to full-fledged gum disease, irreversible damage has already been done. Bacteria attack the alveolar bone, the part of your jaw that keeps your teeth anchored in place. From there, your teeth might become loose to the point that they could fall out! Flossing can actually save your teeth from being lost.
The Advantages of Flossing After Eating
In addition to saving your teeth, flossing offers another benefit that not many people talk about. There is anecdotal evidence to support the idea that brushing and flossing after eating can make you les tempted to snack, helping you lose weight.
While it might not always be possible to brush your teeth in the middle of the day, there’s nothing stopping you from whipping out your little container of dental floss. Using it can help your mouth feel a little cleaner, even if you can’t brush.
If you do get the munchies, keep in mind that lots of popular, “healthy” snacks, like pretzels and dried fruits, have a habit of getting stuck in your teeth. Dried fruits also have a high sugar content, so they can cause cavities between the teeth. There’s an extra reason to floss after snacking.
Even if you haven’t been consistent with your flossing habit lately, it’s never too late to get back into it. Your gums and teeth will thank you.
About the Author
Dr. Gene Gutman is a dentist in Philadelphia who earned his Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from Temple University Dental School in 1987. He is currently eligible for a Fellowship in the prestigious Academy of General Dentistry. If you have a question about your flossing habits, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Gutman at (215) 752-5911.