Dr. Brett L. Johnson

General & Cosmetic Dentistry

There’s No Good Excuse for not Flossing

When it comes to the health of your teeth and gums, no two habits make as great an impact as brushing and flossing. However, despite the negative long-term health consequences that failing to floss has on a person’s oral health, studies show that only 49 percent of Americans floss daily, and 10 percent say they never floss at all. Considering that most dentists view flossing as more important than brushing when trying to prevent gum disease and tooth loss, the fact that the majority of the country’s population fails to floss is just one reason why 75 percent of all adults deal with some form of gum disease during their lifetime, according to the American Dental Association.

If you’re like the millions of Americans who fail to floss, you probably have a number of excuses you use to justify why you neglect this invaluable habit. While these excuses may have convinced you it’s okay not to floss, they haven’t convinced your gums. With that in mind, here are a few common excuse people use not to floss.

Excuse: Food Never Gets Stuck Between My Teeth

Despite the remarkable ability you’d have to possess never to get food stuck between your teeth, the main reason you need to floss has nothing to do with lingering food particles. Plaque, a stick biofilm of bacteria, buildups in places where your toothbrush cannot reach, such as between teeth. Whenever you consume sugar, plaque begins producing acids that slowly erode away tooth enamel. Over time, small grooves will become worn into enamel where bacteria can begin to grow, eventually leading to decay. Because so many people fail to floss, it’s not surprising that the most common places cavities begin to form are between teeth.

So to help prevent the onset of cavities and gum disease, you need to start flossing daily regardless if you ever have food stuck between your teeth.

Excuse: I Don’t Have the Coordination to Floss

Individuals who suffer from impaired dexterity, such as those with arthritis, who have suffered a stroke, injury, or amputation, may not feel they possess the coordination to correctly floss. While a loss of dexterity may make tradition flossing (the use of string tied between your two index fingers) difficult, a number of options exist that allow a person to floss using only one hand. Floss holders, for example, have small bits of string attached to plastic picks that allow an individual to floss even with limited dexterity.

Another option is to use a dental stimulator such as Soft-Picks or Stim-U-Dents. These toothpick shaped instruments also allow a person to clean between their teeth using only one hand or with limited dexterity. If you suffer from a loss of coordination, consult with your dentist to find the best alternate flossing option for you.

Excuse: I Don’t Have the Time

A debatable excuse considering the importance of flossing, a lack of time is often cited to dentists as one of the most common reasons a patient doesn’t floss. While proper flossing does require you to spend several minutes (ideally between three to five) cleaning in-between your teeth, you can still experience a huge benefit from flossing one minute a day. If you spend any time shaving, combing your hair, applying makeup, or engaging in any other grooming habit, you need to devout some time to flossing. To help you remember to floss, try leaving yourself a note next to your toothbrush or leaving the floss out someplace noticeable.

Excuse: It Hurts to Floss

If flossing causes you to experience discomfort, bleeding from the gums, or swelling of the gums, you probably already have gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease. However, even if flossing cause you some discomfort, you actually need to floss more not less. Flossing can help reverse the effects of gum disease, healing our gums and allowing you to floss pain free in the future.

If you need a a kids dentist in Oregon City or have other questions about flossing or any other oral health questions please contact our office today.

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