As kids, most people would freely admit they didn’t take their oral health very seriously. After all, even the most responsible kids would occasionally be guilty of running their toothbrush under the faucet to make it appear as if they actually had brushed before bed. When questioned by curious parents about whether they really brushed, most young minds would concoct wondrous excuses for why they didn’t actually take the time to take care of their oral hygiene. As your premiere family dentist Monroe, Washington has to offer, Dr. Magelsen and his staff want to make sure you have all the info.
While this kind of behavior might seem innocent and humorous when exhibited during the precocious times of childhood, most adults have continued the practice of making excuses for failing to properly take care of their oral health. According to studies conducted by the American Dental Association, 49 percent of adults in the U.S. fail to floss their teeth daily, with 10 percent admitting they never floss at all.
Ask dentists what they hear when they ask patients why the don’t floss, and they’ll tell you about a variety of excuses that range from the convincing to the lame.
To many dentists, flossing plays a more important role in maintaining patients oral health than even brushing, as they know full well that the most common place in the mouth for cavities to form is between patients’ teeth.
So while you may think you have a good reason not to floss daily, the health of your teeth and gums would disagree. To help you understand the importance of flossing, here are common excuses why patients fail to floss, and what dentists wish they knew.
Excuse: I Never Get Food Stuck Between My Teeth
While this would be fairly remarkable if true, the primary reason to floss has little to do with removing lingering food particles. While small bits of corn or lettuce may occasionally become trapped between teeth after a meal, plaque- a harmful bacteria that contributes to decay- builds up between your teeth daily.
When left to fester, plaque produces substances that eat away at tooth enamel, creating small grooves in the surface of your teeth where bacteria can begin to pool. Once bacteria forms in these pockets, it begins to eat away at the interior of your teeth, creating cavities that eventually need filling.
So even if you never need to remove food that has become stuck between your teeth, you still need to floss daily.
Excuse: It Hurts When I Floss
If your gums become swollen, tender, sore, or begin to bleed following each time you floss, you actually need to take up the oral hygiene habit more often, not less.
These types of symptoms are generally the result of early stage gum disease, a condition referred to as gingivitis. When left untreated, gingivitis can develop into the more serious periodontitis, which ranks as the leading cause of tooth loss among adults.
Gum disease is caused when bacteria built up along the gum line irritates the tissue, resulting in inflammation. Flossing helps to remove bacteria from along the gum line, thereby removing the source of any irritation that may contribute to the development of disease.
Excuse: I Don’t Have the Time to Floss
By far one of the worst excuses a dentist can hear from a patient. Not having the time to floss would also suggest a patient doesn’t have the time to brush their hair, apply makeup, trim any facial hair, or apply deodorant. If you have time to do any of these daily hygiene habits, you can find the time to spend a few minutes flossing.
While the American Dental Association recommends people take at least three to four minutes to floss daily, flossing for just 30 seconds a day can have an enormous impact on the state of your oral health. Considering the long-term benefits offered by flossing, it makes little sense to ignore this habit just because you feel rush throughout the day.
Excuse: I Don’t Know How to Floss
While learning how to correctly floss does take some time, the only way to get better at the habit is by practicing. If you don’t feel as if you have a good idea about how to properly floss or believe your technique incorrect, talk with Dr. Magelsen about the best ways to floss or visit the ADA’s website where you can find tutorial videos that explore the best flossing practices.