I was going to be snarky and just make it a two-word post, but we all have mothers/grandmothers/fathers/grandfathers/kids who do that kind of thing. And since you come to visit this space as a refuge from your family, I should be as far from snarky as possible. However, it doesn’t diminish the message that the singular activity of flossing your teeth daily is even more important than all the other “good habits” you’ve learned since age 5. And I am an authority on health topics as the winner of the Mrs. Hatkin Memorial Health Award back when I graduated 8th grade.
Not one to rest on my laurels, I have done some homework about this topic. Again, none of these bullets are something you haven’t already heard or been lectured about, but I hope to provide some additional insight. Before I begin I must cite my source: http://www.livestrong.com/article/18428-reasons-use-dental-floss/. However, the italics are mine.
Dental floss does far more than get tiny chunks of food out of the gaps between your teeth. Using dental floss every day will make you look better, smell better, be healthier and help you live longer. (WOW! Who wouldn’t want more of that stuff?) A frightening array of debris and bacteria hides between your teeth and along your gum line. Using dental floss is the simplest and most effective way to protect yourself. (When you say it like that, don’t we all want to be string-waving, ninja tooth warriors? You can even floss while reclining — this I know for a fact!)
The most obvious benefit to using dental floss is that it removes food stuck between your teeth that a toothbrush cannot get. Those who do not floss regularly are often surprised by what floss digs out. Food can be hiding between your teeth even though you are unaware of it. It sits there and literally rots inside your mouth. (Flossing together can be a very fun social activity ~ think of a family of chimps grooming themselves. We are more simian and similar than we realize.)
Using dental floss removes plaque from between your teeth. When plaque builds up, it becomes tartar. This is the unattractive, hard, crusty stuff that forms on teeth and makes them look yellow. Brushing removes plaque from the surface of teeth, but only dental floss can remove it from in between. ( Your dental hygienist knows when you are not being truthful about your flossing habits ~ if you have a good one s/he will call you out on it and make you a better person~ or at least a better liar.)
Prevents Gum Disease
When tartar builds up between teeth it can lead to gum disease. This is known as gingivitis. It eventually leads to periodontitis which is deterioration of the bone holding your teeth in your mouth. Using dental floss keeps your gums healthy and helps you hold on to your teeth. Those who floss regularly keep their teeth years longer than those who rarely floss. (This is just plain scary and keeps me up at night. I am also cheap: it is cheaper to buy dental floss than a new set of chompers or implants.)
Prevents Bad Breath
Rotting food that is stuck between your teeth emits a horrible smell. Tooth decay and gum disease also produce foul odors. This is often the reason people have bad breath. Regular use of dental floss keeps your mouth healthy and smelling fresh. (May lead to more fulfilling relationships ~results may vary. Call your doctor if you experience an erect.. oops, wrong PSA.)
Prevents Heart Disease
Using dental floss is actually good for your heart. All sorts of bacteria hide between your teeth. This includes potentially deadly streptococcus. If bacteria are allowed to build between your teeth it can actually inflame heart muscle and cause complications for people with other heart ailments. (Do it for the folks who’d miss you if you weren’t around to irritate them ~ that’s my motivation.)
The oral bacteria that can contribute to heart disease can also aggravate diabetes. Diabetics are also likely to develop gum inflammation faster than healthy people. It is especially vital for them to use dental floss daily to prevent gum disease and worsen their diabetes. (Undiagnosed and/or uncontrolled diabetes brings on all other kinds of bad stuff all over your body. Like your car, you have to take care of your body if you want it to last for the long haul.)