Believe it or not, a recent survey has found that only 49% of Americans floss daily and 10% of Americans don’t floss at all. These rough estimates are quite unfortunate, given howimportant flossing is to your oral hygiene routine. In fact, dentists agree that flossing is more important than brushing in the fight against periodontal disease, which could ultimately lead to tooth loss. People joke about how the only time they floss is when they’re due for their annual check-up. San Diego dentist, Dr. David Kitchen, wants his patients to know that he can tell if you’ve been a long-term flosser or not.
And, he wants you to put an end to your excuses for not flossing regularly. The main “culprit” people cite for not flossing is that they don’t have time. Although effective flossing does require a bit of time (about 3 to 5 minutes), Dr. Kitchen says that even 60 seconds of flossing is better than zero seconds of flossing. The key here is to make flossing a daily habit.
Other excuses vary from not knowing how to floss, not having enough dexterity to floss, or having dental work that makes flossing impossible, or that food doesn’t get stuck in your teeth. If it’s lack of knowledge that is keeping you from flossing your teeth, take a look at this video that clearly illustrates how to properly floss. Also, if you have dexterity constraints, consider a floss holder. These disposable plastic Y-shaped devices (some equipped with a spool of floss) hold a span of floss between two prongs to allow one-handed use. Furthermore, flossing doesn’t rid your mouth of food detritus, it gets rid of dental plaque, the very thing that causes gum disease.
Another oft-used excuse is that flossing can be painful for some. Bleeding while brushing and flossing is the precise condition flossing aims to prevent. The good news is that once you regularly floss and brush, these symptoms subside. If they persist, it is wise to contact Dr. Kitchen at his La Jolla, CA office to figure out what is going on with your oral health. Remember, brushing and flossing regularly is how you prevent periodontal disease!