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The Ramifications of Skipping the Floss When Brushing Teeth


By: Lee Ladyga,

When it comes to good oral health, most adults across the country understand that brushing their teeth is a must along with regular dental checkups. Yet when it comes to flossing, people are closing their medical cabinets without performing this necessary dental health procedure in their home. The facts speak for themselves in the 2009 to 2012 data that has been gathered by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health and Nutrition Survey. In this conducted research, it has been discovered that one-third of adults from the age of 30 and over are not flossing their teeth.

Flossing the teeth involves the process of using a filament material to get in-between teeth to clean out food particles and plaque to prevent tartar buildup. The floss material may consist of nylon that has wax or is un-waxed, or single filament PTFE, as it is slid between the teeth and underneath the gum line. Normally 18″ of floss is effective for cleaning out the debris in tight spaces as each tooth and the places underneath the gum line should undergo this treatment.

While dentists and dental hygienists are stressing the need for teeth flossing, adults simply aren’t picking up on the message. Instead, most adults believe that brushing their teeth should be good enough to get all the gunk out from between their pearly whites. When a person smiles and sees all the plaque has been brushed away, then flossing starts to seem like unnecessary work.

Unfortunately, studies say differently in this capacity. According to data compiled by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of all Americans (47.2 percent) suffer from gum disease. This statistic means that 64.7 million adults at the age of 30 or over have periodontitis at the mild, moderate or severe stage. Periodontitis, or periodontal disease, targets the bone and gum tissue in the mouth that helps support the teeth. It is an inflammatory disease that can lead to tooth loss as well as other serious chronic medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Not flossing in itself doesn’t solely contribute to this serious oral issue. There are also additional factors of skipping dental appointments, not brushing teeth regularly, not eating healthy foods, and other problems. When flossing is done with regular brushing, dental cleanings and treatments, it can lessen the chances of tooth loss, chronic inflammatory problems and other medical issues. Getting people to take their dental health more seriously will help people avoid these ramifications.

What can be done about this growing oral issue? More patient education needs to be provided by dental professionals in all general and specialized oral health services. By strengthening their efforts to keep their patients informed, they can present the facts about the ramifications of not flossing, show patients how to floss properly, and try to lower the statistics so people have better medical health overall. In addition, good dental health can be discussed in other medical professions, including by primary care physicians to help spread this important issue.

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