Looking for a New Year’s Resolution?  Here’s one for you: FLOSS!

At the beginning of a new year, many people make resolutions to change something, and many of those resolutions involve forming healthier habits.  Some of the most common New Year’s Resolutions include losing weight, eating healthy, exercising consistently, drinking more water and drinking less sodas or alcoholic beverages.

One of the healthiest choices you can make is to floss on a daily basis.  We recommend that you add flossing to your list of healthy resolutions.

Why is Flossing Important?

Dental plaque is the soft, white-colored material that collects on the teeth throughout the day.  It contains bacteria, food debris, and exfoliated tissue cells from the inside of the mouth.  Plaque builds up in every possible nook and cranny of the teeth, especially between the teeth.  The bacteria in plaque cause both cavities and gum disease when plaque remains on the teeth for an extended period of time.

Unfortunately, brushing your teeth and using mouthwash do not remove all of the plaque from the teeth.  In order to get plaque away from the contacts between the teeth, something (floss) must physically touch the sides of the teeth that face other teeth.  As the floss passes through the contact between two teeth, it mechanically removes any plaque stuck to that contact.  Your toothbrush bristles can’t reach it, and a liquid mouthrinse swishing around won’t remove it.  Flossing is essential for complete plaque removal and assurance of a low risk for cavities and gum disease.

How Does Flossing Make You Healthier?

Countless scientific studies are showing the link between oral health and the health of your whole body.  Specifically, researchers have found consistent links between chronic periodontal (gum) disease and heart disease.  There are new studies linking the bad bacteria in periodontal disease with Alzheimer’s disease.  Others show a connection between chronic inflammation and the risk for many different types of cancer.

diabetes perio diseasePeople with diabetes have even more cause for concern because the link goes both ways: diabetes worsens periodontal disease, and periodontal disease affects your ability to control blood sugar.

There are so many things about our health that we cannot control, so it makes sense to control all those that we can!

By flossing daily, you are improving overall health by reducing the increased disease risks that result from chronic infection and inflammation in the mouth.  One study shows that flossing every day increases your life span by as much as six years!

How to Make Flossing a Daily Habit

Starting any new habit can be difficult or discouraging.  Here are some tips to make flossing a part of your daily routine.

  1. Set attainable goals.

Begin by committing to floss every night for one week.  If you miss a night, don’t let that derail you.  Simply pick back up where you left off.

  1. Leave the floss out on your bathroom counter where you will see it.

Out of sight, out of mind, right?  So put it in plain sight where you stand a better chance of remembering it before bedtime.

  1. Floss as soon as you’re finished eating and drinking anything besides water for the night.

Don’t wait until bedtime when you are overly tired.  When all you want is to go to sleep, it can be impossible to make yourself spend another 2-3 minutes on your oral hygiene.  Instead, go ahead and floss when you know you won’t have anything but water before bed.

  1. Remind yourself that flossing well only takes about three minutes.

Floss pickIf flossing seems like a daunting task, you may have the wrong idea of it.  Flossing every tooth in your mouth with the proper technique should not take longer than three minutes.  As you do it on a regular basis, you will actually get faster and not even notice the time it takes.

  1. Reap the rewards of daily flossing at your next professional teeth cleaning.

If you have not been a consistent flosser in the past, you should notice a big difference in your next teeth cleaning with the dental hygienist.  The procedure will be more comfortable and take less time.

More Questions about Flossing?

Call 940-382-1750 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Chowning or one of our dental hygienists to discuss the benefits and technique of flossing every single day!

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