Do I Have To Floss?
I happen to have an occupation where truth is often evaded. I'm a detective. My job is deciphering whether or not a person is a liar. I'm a detective of the mouth. I'm a dental hygienist! The dreaded question is asked....do you floss? The most common answer I hear is: "Not as much as I should." What does that mean? Once a week, twice a month, major holidays? Then, there are those who say: "I floss every day..sometimes even twice a day." Claps for you! However, looking at the inflammation and bleeding gums might say otherwise.
Healthy gums don't bleed, period!
Bleeding occurs when too much bacteria has caused an immune response. Removing the bacteria in a timely manner will yield healthy gums. Does this mean you need to floss? I'll get to that in a moment. People are more inclined to brush. There's immediate pleasure: fresh breath, slippery teeth, it feels good (or at least it should). So why don't people want to floss? Well, because unless it's done routinely, it hurts, gums bleed, stuff is flying out everywhere, drooling all over your face and hands. The feel good sensation doesn't happen. Truth is......wait for it.......it's more important to clean in between the teeth than brush. WHAT?? How can this be? Using a fingernail or eating crunchy foods can knock off plaque and bacteria. What knocks off bacteria in between? Something mechanical.
We, meaning students in dental schools, are taught that flossing is the gold standard, but if it's not being used, it's not too golden! There are so many choices to clean in between the teeth. I personally use a Waterpik. There is a learning curve that takes place, but it's well worth the effort. Studies show it removes toxins produced by bacteria and allows the gums to remain healthy.
Soft piks by Gum is another great alternative to flossing. I recommend these all the time to my patients who tell me straight up they are not going to floss. I have seen good improvements in oral health when people use something to clean between their teeth.
So, back to the question. Do I have to floss? The answer is NO, you don't have to floss your teeth. However, if avoiding cavities or periodontal disease happens to be your goal...well, then get to removing that stuff from in between the teeth! Besides, all that rotting stuff in between your teeth STINKS!
Health-bite: clean in between the teeth for fresh breath