The Truth About Flossing: How Often Should You Do It?
Most people know that they should be flossing but they’re not always clear on how often they should do so or how to do it. Some aren’t even sure exactly why it’s recommended. First, it’s a good idea to know that the purpose is to get rid of plaque and bacteria that live between your teeth. A toothbrush can’t get in there, and so it’s important to floss if you want healthy gums.
Flossing isn’t just about your gums
While keeping your gums healthy is one of the main benefits of flossing, it’s not the only one. Recent research has shown that there’s a link between having periodontal disease (more commonly known as gum disease) and other diseases such as cancer, type II diabetes, and heart disease. Why? Because plaque and tarter building leads to inflamed gums and inflammation is a leading cause of the above described diseases.
Bleeding gums may be more serious than you think
One of the signs that you may not be flossing enough is gums that bleed when you floss. While it’s a sign that you have an issue, that’s not all. The truth is that there are more than 300 species of bacteria in your mouth. In a mouth that’s healthy and doesn’t bleed, there can be hundreds of thousands of individual bacteria. It’s not generally a huge issue because the bacteria can’t penetrate your skin.
However, if that bacteria is able to get into your bloodstream, then it can infect blood vessels and your organs. While the scope of this type of transfer from bleeding gums to the rest of your body is still being studied, there is enough evidence to link bleeding and inflamed gums with heart disease, cancer, and type II diabetes.
Flossing daily is a must
According to the American Dental Association, the average patient should floss once a day. Why? Because that’s about how long it takes for bacteria in your mouth to turn into a bacterial colony. That can grow and attach at your gum line, which eventually turns into plaque or tartar. Flossing daily exercises your gums and increases oxygen flow, which will get them in better shape.
We recommend brushing and flossing right before bed. Sleep time is actually an extra danger for your mouth, because you have less salvia in your mouth and saliva is instrumental in fighting bacteria. Flossing can get rid of the source of that bacteria to help keep your gums in good shape overnight.
Visiting your dentist is an essential part of overall gum health
Of course, no matter how well you floss or how often you do, there’s no guarantee against gum disease or cavities. Only a dentist’s cleaning can get rid of certain issues within your mouth, and only a dentist can provide the x-rays needed to ensure true dental health. At California Dental Group, we recommend that most patients see us twice a year. If it’s been more than six months since your last dental exam and cleaning, reach out at (800) 407-0161 to get an appointment set up.