A picture of a young happy woman using dental floss in the bathroom

Brushing at least twice a day is essential for your oral health, but if you’re leaving flossing out of your daily routine, you’re making a mistake. While dentists always recommend patients to floss regularly, many people just don’t take the time to add flossing to their dental hygiene routine. Unfortunately, skipping the floss can have serious effects on both your oral health and your overall health.

Benefits of Flossing

Flossing offers many benefits, and while some of them directly apply to oral health, others apply to your overall health. Some of the health benefits of taking time to floss include:

  • Plaque Removal – The main reason you need to floss is to eliminate plaque from teeth, specifically the plaque that builds up between your teeth. Your toothbrush just can’t reach the areas between teeth, and plaque build-up can irritate our gums and increase the risk of gum disease. Flossing daily removes this plaque.
  • Gum Disease Prevention – You have a great risk of gum disease when plaque builds up on teeth. If gums are swollen, red, or tender, you may have gun disease. Regularly flossing lowers your risk of gum disease and may even take care of a minor case of gum disease.
  • Cavity Prevention – Plaque buildup results in the release of toxins, and these toxins can cause tooth decay. Many people don’t realize they’re dealing with tooth decay until they end up with a severe cavity. Flossing each day helps prevent tooth decay and cavities.
  • Reduced Risk of Heart Disease – You may be surprised to find that flossing regularly can protect your heart. Studies show that flossing can reduce the risk of heart disease. Plaque buildup in your mouth may lead to problems in your bloodstream, resulting in arterial inflammation that increases the risk of heart disease. Keep plaque away and you have a better shot of keeping heart problems away, too.
  • Boost Immunity – Start flossing more and you can worry less about your immune system. Flossing can keep you protected from infection and germs. When excess bacteria build up on gums and teeth, it can travel to other parts of the body, including your lungs, resulting in respiratory infections.
  • Nix Bad Breath – If you’re constantly struggling with bad breath, start flossing and you’ll probably see a difference. Even after you brush your teeth, you’re still left with food particles on your mouth, which can break down and result in bad breath. Flossing helps remove those food particles, which should improve your breath.
  • Tooth Arthritis – If you have joint pain due to joint problems, osteoarthritis, or Rheumatoid arthritis, flossing can help. Flossing keeps infection and bacteria from spreading to your joints via your bloodstream. Studies have shown that some people with arthritis actually have oral bacteria in their joint fluid. Taking time to floss may help keep arthritis pain from worsening.

Make the Most of Flossing

How often should you be flossing for the best results? You need to floss at least once a day. However, it won’t hurt to floss each time you brush your teeth to improve your results. Of course, if you’re not flossing correctly, you won’t get the results you want. Here are a few tips to remember to make sure you reap all the benefits of flossing.

  • Tip #1 – Remember to Clean Both Teeth – When you push floss between two teeth, remember that you’re cleaning both teeth, so focus on scraping plaque off both of the teeth to do a good job.
  • Tip #2 – Follow Tooth Shape – When your floss is at the gum line, make floss form a “C” shape, which lets it follow the tooth shape to better remove plaque.
  • Tip #3 – Use Fresh Floss – As you floss, use fresh areas of floss as you go so you’re rubbing plaque against your teeth.
  • Tip #4 – Try a Floss Holder – Having a tough time reaching those back teeth? If so, try a floss holder. This allows you to reach your teeth with a single hand so it’s easier to get into the tight spots in your mouth, such as the back teeth.
  • Tip #5 – Don’t Use a Sawing Motion – Some people end up with bleeding, damaged gums because they use a sawing motion with their floss. Floss should be moved gently up and down to remove plaque. You should never use a rough sawing motion when flossing.

Don’t underestimate the power of flossing. Start flossing at least once a day to improve your oral and overall health. Remember, floss more and you can worry less about your teeth and your health.