Many people start to make New Year’s resolutions around this time. Some of these resolutions can be quite aspirational, and therefore hard to reach. Experts agree that making small, reasonable goals on the way to something potentially larger is the best way to make a big change.
Getting healthier is almost always the number one New Year’s resolution in the United States. But did you know that small changes in your dental health can make huge changes to your overall well being?
For instance, the majority of Americans don’t floss regularly. Even flossing three times a week can make a big change in your health and your potential to develop certain diseases. Did you know?
- Flossing is an interdental form of cleaning. Unlike a toothbrush, floss cleans in between teeth where a toothbrush can’t reach. - Many people believe that mouthwash can take the place of flossing. Although mouthwash can kill the bacteria that causes plaque, it can’t remove tartar and bits of food. - Flossing doesn’t just clean your teeth, it also protects your gums. Gingivitis (early gum disease) develops much easier when you don’t floss. - Don’t currently floss because it hurts your gums and makes them bleed? Well most of the time, not flossing is what causes that bleeding in the first place. Bleeding gums is a symptom of gingivitis. - Gingivitis that goes untreated can become periodontitis, which is much more complicated, expensive, and inconvenient to treat, and can lead to tooth and bone loss. - In difficult economic times, most people try to save money where they can. Brushing and flossing are two of the most inexpensive ways to stay healthy. Expensive dental treatments are often a result of not taking these basic preventative steps. - Failing to floss regularly can lead to disease that can be far worse than just halitosis (bad breath). Flossing regularly can actually help prevent heart disease, diabetes and respiratory illness, as flossing reduces the number of bad bacteria in the mouth, which means it’s not entering the bloodstream and causing disease. - Flossing prevents tartar build up. Once tartar forms on the teeth, it can’t be removed without professional cleaning. As tartar is the result of hardened plaque that has been left undisturbed for a period of time, simply flossing daily can lead to much less tartar formation around the gums.
Have we convinced you that flossing is one of the keys to good health, but you don’t know where to start? Then check our our latest Watch and Learn. There you’ll find an excellent video that discusses exactly how to properly floss your teeth for optimal results.
Make sure to speak to your hygienist at your next dental appointment as well. They are experts in everything related to dental health maintenance and can give you a one-on-one lesson in proper flossing. Just ask! And don’t forget — there are many different kinds of excellent, effective flosses available that should be comfortable for your particular situation. We’re happy to provide samples so you can try out different flosses to see what works best for you.
–Dr. Shannon Norman-Kotre, Ann Arbor Dentist