Creating A More Beautiful Smile

Is Flossing Really All That Important?

Every time you go to the dentist, you may hear the same old critique that "You need to floss more." But if you brush regularly, you may be wondering if it's really a big deal.

Flossing or Brushing: What's it Going to Be?

Believe it or not, according to, if you were hard-pressed to pick between flossing and brushing, then you should pick flossing. Of course, you should take that information with a grain of salt since both oral hygiene habits are important. Health Line says that while brushing removes plaque from the surfaces of enamel, flossing may be more important because it removes plaque from small pockets where dangerous germs can thrive.

If you don't remove these germs, you are setting yourself up for issues like gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis can cause swollen, bleeding, and inflamed gums, and periodontitis is an even worse condition as it can not only damage the soft tissues of your gums, but it can weaken and destroy the supporting bone structures in your mouth. In short, you need to floss to adequately prevent these issues.

Your Habits Affect Whitening & Other Procedures

Avoiding flossing doesn't just affect your regular 6-month check-ups, it can make cosmetic work difficult as well. For instance, while teeth whitening services are very popular and generally very safe, some minor side effects can include increased tooth or gum sensitivity. These side effects usually shouldn't be a problem if you take good care of your teeth. But if you don't floss, you may already have swollen and/or receding gums that will make tooth sensitivity more likely.

Furthermore, whitening works better on clean teeth since dentin tubules—microscopic channels in the bony tissue behind your enamel—are more porous and reflect the curing light better if they are clean. If you have extra gunk from not flossing, the bleach may not be able to absorb into the enamel and you may not be as happy with your whitening results as you could have been. As you can see, this is just one procedure that could be affected by flossing habits.

It Actually Affects Your Overall Health

Believe it or not, flossing can actually help you prevent secondary conditions, like coronary heart disease (CHD). If you do a little research, you will see that chronic inflammation has a role in the development of this disease. And so if you aren't flossing, you are increasing your risk of chronic inflammation with gingival diseases. In fact, says that if you have a condition like diabetes, it is even more vital for you to floss since you could be three times more likely to develop gum disease than other patients.

Flossing Will Help You Avoid Overbrushing

If you haven't been flossing in the past, you may have been overcompensating by brushing your teeth and gums vigorously. This extra effort (also known as "toothbrush abrasion") may do damage in the long run since it can cause sensitive teeth and gum recession. In fact, about 10 to 20 percent of the population brushes their teeth too hard and has damaged their gums and enamel. To avoid this issue, be sure to invest in floss so that you can get those hard-to-reach areas without jamming toothbrush bristles into your gums.

Lastly, be sure you ask your dentist to show you the proper way to floss. You want to make a small C-shape with the floss around each tooth. Flossing shouldn't hurt or cause you to bleed, so having a dentist show you the proper technique is vital so you can avoid pain.

For more information, contact local professionals like Graylyn Dental.